Delhi Government, AAP's CM Arvind Kejriwal has announced free metro tickets for women on the grounds of better employment and education. Hence, pretty soon enough, Delhi Metro will have free metro tickets for women in Delhi. But by what length is it feasible? Who will bore the subsidized bills, and their fares? Will it be the Delhi government itself, or from the taxes of Indians? Free tickets for girls is a huge step in democracy and will be a huge feat by Aam Aadmi Party CM, Arvind Kejriwal if achieved.
In the battle of democracy, while some parties surge to new heights of promises and new "yojnas", some parties declare a few things without throwing much light on the aftermath. This scheme, free metro tickets for women in Delhi, might have gone way too overboard on this political dilemma. Arvind Kejriwal announced in a press conference held last Monday that he is planning for something like this, keeping in mind the welfare of Delhi metro and the passengers riding it.
He feels that the reason behind free metro tickets for girls is the fact that he wishes to change the face of women's safety in India. While Delhi metro can accommodate a regular feat of 40 lakh passengers, it is only seeing the faces of 25. Arvind Kejriwal wishes to pursue the thriving population of the passengers by encouraging more and more women to board the metro for regular travel.
The rationale behind free metro tickets for girls is the idea of making their travel safer and public transportation easier and cheaper for them. However the consequences are going to be far more disastrous and calamitous, probably the situation might even spiral out of Arvind Kejriwal's fist!
However, when Kejriwal announced his decision, people- mostly the male population were in a ghastly shock. They wondered as to how would free tickets motivate the girls to use the metro and ensure their safety?
To answer this, Atishi- a member of AAP, announced on his twitter handle-
"As of now only 33% of Metro commuters are women. The fare hike last year hit women the worst, forcing them to shift to more unsafe modes of transport like private buses, ride-sharing, or even walking. This move will help them return to the Metro’s safety. More women in any public spaces automatically make (sic) those spaces safer for women. This move will help women reclaim public spaces."
However, when it comes to safety for women- traveling by metro is a small fraction in their daily household. If safety is a concern, then danger lurks on every track of a woman. Starting from the moment she exits her house, walks to and fro, at shopping for groceries, traveling to work, till the time she comes home. Even then, for some unfortunate victims of India, danger can still lurk at the safest place of one's life- at their own home.
This hike in fare has definitely benefitted the sect of women coming from a low income or a below poverty line background, but how far has it benefitted the women generally? Also, how can one reserve safety in just one sect of a daily life routine? Traveling to and fro in the metro, can definitely be safe, but that metro isn't going to drop you back at home right?
Safety is definitely a function of the judiciary, but ensuring safety only at the metro sounds a little absurd, isn't it? It's like Election Commission pitching up a promise wherein it says that all of its politicians are not corrupted and pure by heart!
Till the law enforcement apparatus is considered regarding the matters of safety, Delhi police must be made stronger and alert in every nook and corner of the city. Police postings, immediate FIRs, helpline numbers, CCTV surveillance cameras should be active and alert all the time. However, issuing all of these measures, in general, is a very time-consuming process. Amongst all of this, how can a petty thing like reducing or waiving off metro fare do any greater good?
The financial stability of this entire operation costs nearly 700 crores. When Metro Man, Manish Sisodia, expressed his concerns regarding the already failing budgets of the metro, he was shut down by Saurabh Bharadwaj, an AAP spokesperson.
The conversation followed was-
"Sir, your stand appears to be a result of a misunderstanding about the Delhi government's proposal. You will appreciate that after completion of Phase-III of the DMRC, its services were designed to have a capacity of daily ridership of four million." - Manish Sisodia
"We look forward to addressing Sreedharan's concerns over our proposal. He believes making metro travel free for women will result in losses and inefficiency in the functioning of the Delhi Metro. We want to assure him that the Delhi Metro will not suffer any losses since the Delhi government will reimburse the agency for free rides taken by women, thus eliminating the possibility of inefficiency"- Saurabh Bharadwaj
However, the question still remains who is going to reimburse this huge pay? A huge sum of 700 crores is definitely not going to be paid by the AAP leaders. That means to reimburse the huge loss of the Delhi metro, there are only two options left in hand- cutting off budgets from other departments or snipping the pockets of the tax-payers.
This proposal of subsidy is definitely subversive. A fully developed state is the one that duly treats its citizens in a justifiable way. And not prefer a particular gender just for being a human of that particular gender. The very welfare of the state depends on this justified fare of public transport. Giving subsidies in a fare so the minimum is not only calamitous but also is a matter of fiscal prudence. Not only this, there are many more duties and staff to be maintained with this money. However, none of them will be possible if such subsidies are given without any reason.
But the question still remains- who is going to bear the fare?
That means that this entire cajole is going to only bring more worry and more taxes on Delhi's Aam Aadmi.