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I am doing whatever is possible to ensure women safety in Delhi: Kejriwal 

United News of India , Dec 13, 2019

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said he is trying to do whatever is possible at his level to improve the situation for women's security in the national capital.

Addressing a women's annual programme at FICCI, Mr Kejriwal said,'Delhi is the national capital of the country, and I believe every citizen of Delhi must have access to top-quality government services. Delegates from several nations are coming to witness government health and education improvements, but it disappoints me that Delhi is regarded as the 'rape capital' of India. I am doing whatever I can to increase the safety of women in Delhi.'

'I have deployed 13,000 bus marshals to deal with the problem of eve-teasing and harassment inside buses. We motivated them, we held a meeting with all of them in a stadium, where I told them I will take care of your needs but you have to keep buses secure for women. Recently one bus marshal identified a suspicious-looking man was taking a little girl with him. The marshal immediately shut the doors down and apprehended the man. It turned out she was kidnapped from a railway station and the girl was rescued. You all will be happy to know, that a lot of women have been appointed as bus marshals now. Someone asked me, how will women combat miscreants in buses? I gave him the example of a bus marshal Geeta Devi who bravely captured a pickpocket from a bus and handed him to the police. We are hearing many other stories of bravery shown by women bus marshals,' he said.

The CM said that more than 88 per cent of women are happy with free bus ride scheme, not many schemes garner such popularity.

'The Delhi government has initiated a free-ridership scheme for women in DTC buses. In a survey, more than 88 per cent of women have said they are extremely happy and satisfied with our free bus ridership scheme for women. Several governments launch several schemes but rarely does a scheme garner such high levels of support, popularity, and acceptance by the people,' he said.

'When we started this scheme, some leaders and intellectuals opposed the scheme to a huge extent. They criticised the free rides scheme for women with an argument claiming the scheme is against gender equality and why only women should get free rides? I have asked this time and again, does India even have gender equality, to begin with? Do women get equal opportunities and respect in our country? The working population of Delhi entails only 11 per cent of women and 89 per cent of men. 33 per cent of women travel via public transportation and 67 per cent of men travel. 30 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men travel in DTC buses. Can we say that women get equal rights in the country? We initiated the free ridership for women scheme on October 28th-29th 2019, and the women ridership has now reached 42 per cent from 30 per cent,' he said.

Mr Kejriwal said that the free bus rides scheme have given women freedom.

"The women of our country are waiting for such avenues to participate in the economy of the country. Women want opportunities. If they're given opportunities, they are waiting in the wings to leverage them. Because of the free bus rides scheme, several women have now been empowered both economically and socially,' he said.

The CM said if corruption from Delhi can be abolished in 49 days, women's safety can also be ensured in the country.

"At this time women are feeling very insecure about their safety. There is a feeling that we can never have a system that keeps women safe. We are thinking about what can be done on women's security. But is this not what people would think about corruption too? But in our first 49-day government, we had the anti-corruption branch with us and corruption was abolished. We advised the people to record the instance of corruption and forward the recording to a WhatsApp number. We had jailed 32 officers for corruption during our 49-day government. The bureaucracy was in shock. It had rattled the system and officials had stopped demanding bribes,' he said.

'As soon as I resigned, the same corrupt system returned. Officials were asked to return the bribes. What happened in those 49 days? People developed faith in their government and their chief minister. They thought our government is standing behind us. People gained confidence in us. If corruption can be abolished from Delhi within 49 days, then women's security can also be ensured,' he said.

'People criticised us saying that free bus ride scheme is a very expensive step, and the money could have been used for something else. The scheme has cost the Delhi government Rs 140 crore. A Chief Minister of some other state has spent Rs 191 crore on a private jet recently. The same government money was spent by me on the free travel scheme instead of using it on my own needs. If corruption and unnecessary spending stop, there will be no shortage of funds with the government,' he added.



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 In conversation with Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Hon'ble Chief Minister, Delhi