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Delhi govt proposes to make metro and DTC bus ride free for women

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that to ensure the safety of women, the Delhi government has proposed for free rides for them on the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and other cluster buses, as well as the Delhi Metro. This is likely to cost the government nearly Rs 1,600 crore for the year. The government aims to launch this in the next two or three months and has invited suggestions from the public as well.

The announcement comes in the run-up to assembly elections in the national Capital. The term of the Delhi government led by the Aam Aadmi Party ends in February. The AAP, which swept the assembly elections in 2015, put up a poor performance in the national capital in the Lok Sabha elections. Major vote shares were shifted to the Congress party, therefore of the seven seats in Delhi, the AAP failed to secure a single one and came third in five of the constituencies.

The move, which is yet to be cleared by requisite authorities, will cost the Delhi government approximately Rs 700 to 800 crore for the remaining year. The chief minister, however, said that the subsidy will not be imposed on anyone as the scheme will be voluntary, and those who can afford their travel will be encouraged to do so.

"There are several women who can afford these modes of transport. Those who can afford can purchase tickets, they needn't take subsidy. We encourage those, who can afford, to buy tickets and not take subsidy so that others could benefit," CM Kejriwal said. The CM also linked the idea with the issue of women safety in Delhi.

The Delhi government has estimated that a minimum of 30-33 percent of Delhi women commutes by the metro and buses each, out of40 lakh people –which is the total ridership of the DTC buses, he said.

The DMRC and the DTC have been given a week's time to prepare a detailed proposal for the same, as the government looks to roll out the scheme in the next two to three months, Kejriwal said.

Chief Minister Kejriwal has also sought people's suggestion on the scheme and asked them to mail the feedback at: delhiwomensafety@gmail.com or write to the chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi, an advisory body of the AAP government.

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