Safety or free transport? What Delhi women need
New Delhi, June 4: After Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's announcement of making DTC bus and the Metro rides free for women in the national capital, netizens started to raise a storm on social media. The idea has left opinion divided on social media. Some of them think it's a good initiative for women and senior citizens, while others said that the Delhi government's decision is completely unjustified and defies Gender 'Equality'.
The move was criticised by many who called for better security instead of free rides. Many grumbling about the financial hit to be taken by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, a half-half joint venture of the central and Delhi governments. While some wonder about the affordability of such a subsidy, others are delighted by what they see as a clear case of affirmative action in favour of women.
The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during the announcement said that the Delhi government would bear the expense, around Rs 1,600 crore for the year. He added that the decision has been taken keeping the safety of women in mind. It would take about three months for the rollout of the scheme.
While the Delhi government said the move is an attempt to make Delhi safer for women, it was dismissed by BJP as an election strategy ahead of state polls next year.
What followed the announcement was an intense debate on social media. Some have pointed out, women's safety in getting around the city was a key demand of the angry demonstrations held after the infamous "Nirbhaya" gang rape in Delhi in 2012. Protestors also wanted public transport to be available round-the-clock, a suggestion that appears to have fallen on deaf ears, alas. While free rides for women would help those who cannot afford anything except relatively risky modes of transport, how the Delhi government's new move increases the safety of the rest remains unclear.
Reports say, Delhi recorded the highest rate of crimes against women in India, according to the most recent federal crime records data released in 2017.
Both men and women have questioned the intentions behind the announcement. Whereas, the move was welcomed by many others.