In a move to encourage more and more women to take the wheel, the Karnataka Government is formulating a special policy.
Under this, over 50% of driver posts will be reserved for women in state-run bus services like Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).
After a review meeting last Friday, Transport minister H M Revanna asked the concerned officials at KSRTC & BMTC to draft a policy which will give incentives to women candidates willing to take up driving heavy transport vehicles for the state transport.
Not only will the women be trained, but will also be provided with a special stipend, at the completion of them they will be deployed for service. This stipend will be paid utilising the Rs 57 crore granted under the Nirbhaya fund.
“The idea is in line with women empowerment, and the move would reduce rudeness on the road,” BMTC chairman, Nagaraj Yadav, told the Times of India.
Yadav also feels getting more women on board will better the brand equity of government transport agencies, which are otherwise infamous in the public eye for rash driving and road rage incidents.
If this special policy sees the light of the day, Karnataka may become the first state to reserve as high as 50% of driving jobs for women in state-run transport.
The transport minister spoke to the Times of India saying, “We will not only give women free training in driving HTVs, but also issue them free driving licences. While countries such as China, Britain and Italy have women bus drivers, Karnataka will become the first state to provide 50% reservation for women in this job at government transport agencies,” Revanna told TOI.
Managing director of KSRTC, S R Umashankar expressed that working out the nitty-gritty of the policy is still underway, but they are aiming to start training candidates soon.
The Karnataka Transport Ministry may partner with Karnataka Vocational Training and Skill Development Corporation limited (KVTSDC) for the training programme, likely to commence in a month.
This training module will take place at eight driving tracks of KSRTC including Bagalkot, Hassan, Malavalli, Chikkamagaluru, Humnabad, and Hagaribommanahalli.
The report also mentions how KSRTC & BMTC’s 30% reservation for women received a cold response in the past. The statistics reveal that out of a total of 11,059 drivers at KSRTC, only two are women. Also, a total of 11,152 drivers in BMTC, doesn’t have a single woman.
“An exclusive government policy is needed to encourage women to take up this kind of job, and the state government’s initiative is a welcome move,” Ameenamma Nadaf, a woman driver with KSRTC, at Tumakuru bus depot told the publication.