In his last Independence Day address of his term, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said women in the Capital will be able to travel for free in all DTC and cluster buses from October 29.
Speaking at a function organised at Chhatrasal Stadium, he said: Today I am fulfilling my duty towards all my sisters of Delhi. He added that his government was also working on the proposal to provide free travel to women in the Delhi Metro and hoped to get it finalised soon with the authorities concerned.
This step will prove to be important for women dignity, empowerment, safety and will help them in fulfilling their dreams, he said, adding that in a democracy, divergent and critical views are essential. The government would like to address the views of those who are opposed to free travel for women, he said.
I have read views that this scheme is against gender equality. But, one needs to answer that is there any gender equality in our country? The answer is no. In Delhi, the percentage of women in the workforce is merely 11 % and women using public transport accounts for only 30%. Free travel for women in public transport will encourage women to work more, girl students will be able to travel to their educational institutions without any hesitation and Delhi will gain as an aspirational city, Mr. Kejriwal said.
Talking about several new schemes that the government has come up with, he said it was possible due to honest governance. Taxpayers money must go back to the taxpayer. It is the money of the people and should be returned to them. Our government believes in honest governance and not in siphoning off public money, Mr. Kejriwal said.
He added that at a time when there is the talk of an economic slowdown in the country, the government had reduced taxes on the people. Decisions like providing 200 units of electricity-free, 20,000 litre of water free every month, free tests and medicines in government hospitals and mohalla clinics are basic rights of residents of Delhi and we are happy to have been able to provide these facilities, he said.
Making another pitch to women, he said he has always been worried for their safety and asked them to ensure that CCTVs are installed in their localities. I am told by women that this step is providing a sense of security, therefore the government will leave no stone unturned for the success of this step, he added.
Before his address, the Chief Minister unfurled national flag and inspected the parade and took the Guard of Honour from the contingents of Delhi Police, Civil Defence, Delhi Fire Service, DDMA, NCC and schoolchildren. He also paid tributes to freedom fighters. Mr. Kejriwal also awarded the medals to the officers and ex-officers of Delhi Fire Service for their efforts.