DMK president M K Stalin, who sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Friday, began his tenure by providing free bus ride for women passengers. This promise was made by the DMK in the run-up to the assembly election.
Apart from free bus rides, he also ordered ₹ 4,000 COVID-19 relief to 2.07 crore families and slashed Aavin milk price by ₹ 3 per litre from May 16.
The relief amount, which follows an expenditure of ₹ 4,153.39 crores to the exchequer, will be paid in two instalments and the first tranche of Rs 2,000 will be issued to PDS rice cardholders in May, a release said.
The annual subsidy of ₹1,200 crores will be paid to state transport corporations to compensate for the revenue loss for allowing women to travel across the state for free, reported The Times Of India.
As per the estimates, the state transport corporations earn annual revenue of ₹ 3,000 crores.
"As per Census 2011, women's work participation rate stands at 31.8% in the state in comparison to men's work participation rate of 59.3%. There is a need to improve the participation rate of women to ensure that they could extend contribution for economic growth," stated an order said, explaining the importance behind this move.
On the first day of free bus travel for women, thousands of passengers travelled on about 5,600 ordinary fare buses across Tamil Nadu and on 1,700 buses in Chennai on Saturday, reported The Hindu
The passengers welcomed this measure by the newly elected government but also urged to run more ordinary buses.
"There are over 9,000 buses across the State and of these, 5,600 are ordinary services. Besides, there are express, deluxe and air-conditioned buses. The main difference is the fare and the number of stops. An ordinary fare bus will halt at all stops, and it will be helpful to women," a senior official of the Transport Department.