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Women, Mobility & Shakti Scheme –Opportunities And Challenges

, July 11, 2023, 0 Comments

ksrtc-women-mobility-marketexpress-inMy maid came early this morning and told me she wouldn’t be coming for the next three days. I was astonished that there was no festival or significant event. Then I questioned her regarding her current vacation. She declared that every woman in her colony would be visiting a temple during the following three days. Since there is no longer a bus fee for ladies in Karnataka and all temples provide free lunch, the scheduled temple visit will cost nothing at all.

The decision by Karnataka to offer women free public transit could have a major impact on the state’s development. The strategy will help the poorest families, encourage women’s participation in school, the workforce, and employment, and release human potential constrained by unfavourable socioeconomic circumstances.

Free bus transportation is a much-welcomed initiative to improve female mobility in Karnataka. Women are now more empowered as a result of female mobility, and they feel confident travelling to any location in Karnataka. This is a fantastic initiative for working and studying women because they can now save the money they would have spent on transit and put it to far better use. The growth and expansion of the logistics and tourist industries have indirect advantages. In Karnataka, female commuters will feel protected, secure, and confident thanks to the female mobility.

However, this one government decision will have a direct and indirect impact on a number of other services. Women have stopped driving and using OLA, and they are simply standing still and waiting for the bus to arrive. Thus, auto drivers experience a decline in business. In Bangalore, the women who formerly used the metro have switched to the BMTC, which has an impact on metro revenue. Due to the fact that female commuters are provided free service in non-ac buses, there are no female passengers in BMTC AC buses. The increase in village-to-city migration will have a significant influence on the employment of women in rural communities. This decision could result in high female absenteeism in unorganised sectors. The proportion of female travelers within the district and out of the district will increase.

Free bus transportation is not a reward in itself, and putting this plan into action will present several difficulties. According to the official release, the “Shakti” scheme, the free transport service, will assist more than 41.8 lakh female passengers daily and will cost the state exchequer an estimated Rs 4,051.56 crore yearly. The demand for commuting must be met with an effective and timely transport service, which presents the biggest challenge for the public transport sector. The increased demand for public transit will require capacity expansion through fleet size and staffing levels, further depleting state coffers. However, according to public finance, taking the bus is a public good that is exclusive and competitive.

The Karnataka government must support the plan with a strategy to quadruple the number of public buses, deregulate urban and long-distance road transportation, create incentive structures for transportation companies, maximize coverage, invest in footpaths, and finance it with parking fee and advertising revenues. The only solution to stop mobility is for the government to prioritize expanding women’s work prospects and state economic development.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of MarketExpress – India’s first Global Analysis & Sharing Platform or the organization(s) that the author represents in his personal capacity.