Women drivers likely to be exempted from odd-even scheme in Delhi starting from April 15

The Delhi government is likely to give exemption to women drivers under the second round of odd-even scheme starting from April 15.

New Delhi: The Delhi government is likely to give exemption to women drivers under the second round of odd-even scheme starting from April 15.

Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Maliwal has also urged Transport Minister Gopal Rai to exempt women from the road-rationing scheme as the city's public transport is not in a good shape and safety for working women is also a issue of concern.

Rai today held consultation with different women organisations where most participants raised their voices in favour of keeping women drivers out of the ambit of the scheme.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called his Cabinet meeting with coordination committee constituted on the odd-even tomorrow where a final decision will be taken.

"Government is considering to give exemption to women drivers under the second round of the scheme. There is a need to improve public transport besides ensuring safety for women. Until government addresses these two issues, women will continue to be exempted," a source said.

During the first phase of odd-even scheme from January 1 to 15 earlier this year, the Kejriwal government had also given exemptions to them.

In the consultation on odd-even, a participant named Deepika Dutta said women's safety is not up to the mark in the national capital.

"Government should first ensure women safety and improve public transport in Delhi. Until government addresses these two issues, it should exempt women drivers from the odd-even scheme," she said.

Maliwal, who was also a participant, said that DCW had sought people's suggestion on whether women should be given exemption.

"Out of 218 participants, 200 women wanted exemption for them. Cases of rape and eve-teasing have also been on the rise. There is first need to make women feel safe while travelling in public transport," Maliwal said.

Another participant Parminder Kaur Malhotra said during the first round of scheme, schools were closed, but this time, schools will remain open during the second round.

She said women will also have to pick up their children from schools and in view of this, there should be exemption for them.

Delhi Assembly's Deputy Speaker Bandana Kumari and AAP women MLA Alka Lamba also advocated giving exemption to women drivers in view of poor public transport and women safety issue.

Archana Garodia Gupta, President of FICCI Ladies Organization, said that she is also in the favour of exemption for women.

There were some women who demanded that government should not exempt women drivers during the second phase of car-rationing scheme.

Tine, a resident of Dwarka, said that women should help government deal with the rising pollution level in the city.

Under the scheme, odd-numbered cars are only allowed to ply on odd dates while even-numbered vehicle are allowed to run only on even dates.

"While most responses were from women, some men expressed concern over the safety of the women in their family. It is interesting to note that only 18 responses were against the exemption and out of these, 13 were from men," said a senior DCW official.

Even as the Commission welcomed Delhi government's odd-even scheme saying it was a good initiative to reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi, it said that there concerns about women's safety in terms of giving exemption to women drivers.

"While crime against women is increasing in Delhi, the response system, redressal mechanism and the criminal justice system is lacking on many fronts. Despite over 11,000 FIRs having been registered in crimes against women in Delhi in 2014, miniscule convictions were recorded in the same year. The perpetrators therefore roam fearlessly in the city while women are afraid to do so. Such a fear is echoed when women use public infrastructure," he said.

Delhi needs a coordinated effort between the central and the state government to ensure safety of its women.

" Adequate public infrastructure, especially proper transportation options play a decisive role in a woman's stepping out of the house, thereby affecting the participation of women in the workforce. It is therefore important that the safety levels perceived by women be taken into account during the formulation of the odd-even scheme of the Delhi government," said the official. 

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