Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the State level function ‘Naari Ko Naman’ held at Dharamshala in Kangra district today, launched 50 percent concession on bus fare scheme to women passengers in HRTC buses and announced reducing the minimum fare in HRTC buses from existing Rs. 7 to Rs. 5, filling up of 25 posts of women drivers for ‘Ride With Pride’ Taxis of HRTC. He also announced filling up of 265 posts of motor mechanics, electricians and other categories in HRTC. He said that the matter of providing additional funds of Rs. 30 crore for HRTC would be taken up with the Finance Department.
Chief Minister said that today was an historic day for the people of the State as the State Government has launched ‘Naari Ko Naman’ scheme to provide 50 percent concession in the fare of Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses to women passengers. This concession on bus fares to women is not a political move, rather it is a small step towards our resolve to strengthen women power, he added. Jai Ram Thakur said that this scheme would prove helpful in making women self-reliant and would give a new impetus to the progress of the women of the State. He said that the State Government would spend about Rs. 60 crore annually on the scheme since as per an estimate as many as 1.25 lakh women, travel in the HRTC buses daily. He said that the scheme would also give momentum to the initiative of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao’ campaign as girl students of schools and colleges, who commute daily by buses would be immensely benefitted.
Chief Minister said that women constitute fifty percent of our total population and one cannot even imagine development without active participation and overall development of the women. He said that with this objective in mind, the present State Government decided to provide 50 percent concession of bus fare in HRTC buses. He said that it was unfortunate that a young opposition MLA immediately after this historic decision went live on social media and alleged that the present State Government was making the people of the State habitual of freebees. The people of the State would give befitting reply to these leaders in the coming elections, he added. Jai Ram Thakur said that it was during his tenure as Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister that 50 percent reservation was provided to women in Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies in 2010 with an aim to ensure participation of women in the process of development. He said that over 58 percent seats were won by the women in those elections and today this percentage has gone upto 60. He said that Mukhya Mantri Grihini Suvidha Yojna was started in the State to cover the left-out beneficiaries of Ujjawala Yojna. He said that 3.32 lakh gas connections were provided to women free of cost in the State under this scheme.
He said that Mukhya Mantri Shagun Yojana was started for daughters of BPL families, under which financial assistance of Rs. 31,000 were being provided during the marriage of daughters of BPL families. Over Rs. 17 crore have been provided under this scheme to benefit 5308 daughters of the State, he added. Chief Minister said that the State Government was sensitive to provide a fear-free environment in the State to women of the State and started the Gudiya Helpline to provide security to women. He said that under ‘Beti Hai Anmol Yojna’, Rs. 21,000 were being deposited in the name of two daughters of BPL family. He said that an additional amount of Rs. 25,000 Revolving Fund has been provided to all the women self-help groups associated with the village organization. The Government has started Mukhya Mantri Swavalamban Yojna to make women empowered and self-reliant and subsidy upto 35 percent was being provided to them to start their own self-employment venture, he added. Earlier, the Chief Minister provided concessional tickets and flowers to the women commuters and flagged off the HRTC buses from bus stand Dharamshala. CM also honoured women HRTC Driver Seema Thakur and also provided employment letters to two beneficiaries on compassionate ground on the occasion.
Chief Minister also interacted with women commuters of Mandi, Sirmour, Una, Chamba, Hamirpur, Shimla, Lahaul Spiti, Solan, Bilaspur, Kinnaur and Kullu districts virtually on the occasion. Industries and Transport Minister Bikram Singh said that the State Government was trying to provide maximum electrical buses. He said that over 3500 youth were provided employment in the Transport Department itself during the last four and a half years. He urged the women to effectively disseminate the policies and programmes of the State Government so that BJP could again form Government in the State for continued pace of development. State President BJP Mahila Morcha Rashim Dhar Sood thanked the Chief Minister for taking this historic decision to provide 50 percent concession of fare in HRTC buses to half of the population of the State. She also detailed several welfare schemes launched by the State Government for empowerment of women in the State. Principal Secretary Transport R.D. Nazeem, while welcoming the Chief Minister said that this was a proud moment for the HRTC to provide 50 percent concession on fare to the women in State Transport buses. He said that HRTC has been known throughout the country for providing an effective, safe and comfortable journey to the commuters in and outside the State.
Managing Director Transport Sandeep Kumar presented a vote of thanks.
Speaker State Vidhan Sabha Vipin Singh Parmar, MLAs Vishal Neharia, Arjun Singh, Ravinder Dhiman, Arun Mehra, Hoshiyar Singh and Reeta Dhiman, Chairman Woolfed Trilok Kapoor, Deputy Commissioner Kangra Dr. Nipun Jindal, were present with the Chief Minister at Dharamshala, whereas, Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Sarveen Chaudhary, Tribal Development Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Virender Kanwar, Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur, Health Minister Dr. Rajiv Saizal, Power Minister Sukhram Chaudhary, Forests Minister Rakesh Pathania, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Rajinder Garg, Chief Whip Vikram Jaryal, MLAs and other leaders joined the event virtually from different district headquarters.