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Free Rides For Women Is A Welcome Move But How Will Govt Ensure Safety?

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Recently, the announcement of a new scheme by CM Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference of providing free rides in metro and buses created a buzz on social media with a plethora of mixed reactions polarising the people at large.

What piqued my interest in this was that people rather than viewing this move as a means of combating gender inequality, which might have the potential in bringing out unprivileged women and encouraging them to work in public sectors without thinking of the transport wages; it attracted a lot of prejudice and sexist remarks about women.

Some went on to say that its ‘special treatment’ for women, similar to separate coaches in Delhi metros and reserved seats in buses. I believe, such remarks portray the conditioned mindsets of some men which comes from the sense of hatred and prejudice against women and girls.

I think what’s important to consider here is how far this initiative could be helpful in reducing molestation and sexual harassment in metros and buses.

According to the Delhi government, this scheme will encourage women to step out of their houses and work. Secondly, they believe this is a step towards equality in the public domain, where men and women can equally share the space without the domination of men.

Smashing patriarchy from its roots and  providing equal and a free liberating space for women and girls in our society sounds like one of the targets of this initiative, but it all sounds rhetorical and seemingly impossible, when I see everyday monsters on crowded buses masturbating and trying to touch women; while women silently avoid or try to shift around the leg space area of the so-called reserved seats for women.

In situations such as these, how far does the Delhi government see this initiative beneficial for women and society at large?

Free metro rides in Delhi
NEW DELHI, INDIA – AUGUST 12: Heavy crowd and chaos at Rajiv Chowk station as Metro trains were running late.

Though this is a very welcoming initiative by the Delhi government, women have been underprivileged for a long time and thus they must take advantage of this scheme. I am all for the overcrowding it might lead to if a proportion of women increases in the public domain.

As they say, women feel safer in the company of other women, though I wish I could have said the same about men too. Well, that will take time as the change needs to take place on an ideological level in our society. However, without infrastructure for such schemes, how will the DMRC manage the gradual upsurge in buses; it all sounds hollow and equal to believing in a Utopian existence.

But what I find more alarming is that Kejriwal has admitted that the daily ridership will increase by one lakh. So, how will the government ensure the safety of the increasing number of women using public transport?



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  1. Prateek Murarka

    well I really don’t find it a great move when concerned about women safety.
    here it is said that women are more comfortable with other women, really..??
    You call it a solution..??
    Is it a school or something were some teachers with their conservative mind ask boys to sit in one side and girls other..??
    we are social animal and we need to feel comfortable with whatever gender we are working with.
    If arvind ji is really looking forward to increase the no of travellers by giving concessions it should be on the basis of salary or finical conditions And then men and women should be equally provided with concession.

  2. Christiano Ronaldo

    I will see it as a balanced move by the Delhi government, metro has more capacity and it can adjust to that if they plan properly, traffic will get little easy too, it will be safer when women will use metro transport after work, currently only 33% women use metro, this will allow some women who belong to lower middle class and middle class to go out and seek work, travel more distances easily at no cost and will allow our young girls from that class only to continue their higher education conveniently from the colleges which are based on the other corner of the city but you know DMRC will have to suffer from it which Kejriwal will take care of when he comes to power again…. Your post is good, a good read and what is your opinion about the current smog and air quality crises in the NCR region. Thank you!

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