Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot on Tuesday said the government plans to have 200 women bus drivers with the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) as part of its effort to provide employment opportunities to them.
He also handed over appointment letters to the first batch of 11 women bus drivers who have completed their training and will be employed with the DTC.
“It is an important day for women. It was CM Arvind Kejriwal’s dream to empower women and provide them employment. Today, 11 women drivers got employment letters after completing their training. Ten more women are getting trained while the other batches have also begun. We plan to have 200 women drivers in DTC,” he told reporters.
Hailing the women drivers for their courage to take up bus driving as career choice and becoming a role model for society, Gahlot said he is hopeful that they will inspire more women to become bus drivers with Delhi’s transportation fleet.
“I am very hopeful that with more women driving Delhi government’s buses, the public transportation in the city will become safer and passenger friendly. I wish them the very best for the future,” he added.
Gahlot also said the Transport Department has sent a proposal to the Labour Department to include bus drivers in the ‘highly skilled’ category, which would lead to an increase in their wages. He said that the decision has to be taken by the Labour Department.
He further said that the Transport Department has plans to offer drivers an option to choose between driving electric buses or the CNG ones.
In February this year, the Delhi government had relaxed the height and experience criteria for recruitment of women drivers for DTC and cluster buses in the capital.
The minimum height was reduced from 159 cm to 153 cm while the experience period after issuance of heavy motor vehicle (HMV) licence was lowered to one month from three years in the past for female applicants applying for the post of bus driver.
“We had relaxed norms for them. These women drivers have completed a training of three months. They have been trained in the depot and also have had on-road training. Experienced trainers from DTC have trained them,” Gahlot added.
Later, in a statement, the Delhi government said the relaxed norms increased opportunities for women employment within the combined fleet strength of approximately 7,370 buses in the DTC and the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS).
The move also opened the doors for women to be employed within the 15,000 strong workforce of bus drivers in the state public transportation, it added.
In April this year, Gahlot had also kicked off ‘Mission Parivartan’, an initiative to train women to obtain their HMV licences at the Society for Driving Training Institute (SDTI), Burari.
The initiative is being implemented as a joint venture between the Delhi government and Ashok Leyland Limited to facilitate end-to-end training to 180 women candidates for obtaining a driving licence of HMV category.
The DIMTS under its CSR support has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the SDTI to implement this programme.
The women, after complete training, will be equipped to drive Delhi government’s buses under its public transportation fleet, the statement said, adding that 81 women in two batches have already completed this training and 38 have earned their HMV licences.
Ten of these women are currently undergoing training at DTC Training Centre, Nand Nagri for induction as bus drivers and 31 more have applied to undertake training at the centre.