Delhi while being the capital of our wonderfully diverse country is also one of the most unsafe cities to be in. The city’s governance has time and again come under scrutiny for not doing enough for women’s safety especially after the “Nirbhaya” case which triggered the entire country to rise to point out the flaws in our system.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that the AAP government would soon waiver the fares of all women commuters travelling via Delhi metro and DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses. This move according to Kejriwal is to uplift the women in our society, especially the ones coming from weaker economic backgrounds.
It is no secret that travelling from one part of the city to another is becoming increasingly expensive as well as risky for women. While it is almost completely safe for men to walk distances alone except for the threat of bring jumped at or robbed, women fear for their safety constantly due to gruesome incidents that have come to light.
In accordance to the claim by the center that the ticketing prices of the metro rail were too low, the metro prices were hiked steeply. Such a hike resulted in the decrease of daily commuters by over 3 lakhs.
The metro line in Delhi is a joint venture by the Centre and Delhi government. When asked about the loss that would be incurred in waiving the ticket cost, the AAP replied by saying that the losses incurred would be refurbished by the Delhi government. The annual price tag of this initiative is estimated to be no less than 700 crores.
While Kejriwal’s rule in Delhi did bring about change in the government’s participation in women’s safety, the implementation of these changes have not been up to par.
Considering his past endeavors at hand, critics are skeptical of the way this policy will be presented. Also another factor to consider is the timing of this policy, right before the 2020 Delhi elections. Where AAP fared poorly in the Lok Sabha elections, the party might be trying to strengthen its stance by implementing this to increase their voter bank.
All things aside, women themselves have spoken about this, where half of them, mostly belonging to the lower financial strata are exhilarated by this, the ones belonging to the strata that can afford transport want this to be accessible to the low financial section of not only the female population but to all.
We must keep in mind that this policy is still in its infantile stages and the way this will be implemented is not yet clear. Whether women will be provided cards to use which will fetch them free rides or whether the guards will let them through by registering their gender, the basis of identifying the female passenger is not yet clear.
Where our country is striving to bridge the gap between the two genders, will this policy prove to actually benefit the women in our country as well as the government or will this just prove to be another debacle? These are questions that will only be answered as events unfold.