Empowering Women Through Rickshaws

By Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new program launched by the Prime Minister in India is supporting the economic empowerment of women by distributing e-rickshaws to 151 women who will now be able to better earn for themselves. The program will provide commuters with the ability to hire an e-rickshaw using a mobile application and ensure digital transfer of fares into the accounts of all the female e-rickshaw drivers.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Forty-five year old Khursheeda of Trilokpuri, Delhi, was engaged in waste collection from Noida and Trilokpuri. She anxiously awaits Tuesday for what will bring her way a dignified means of earning an income and taking care of her two daughters.

She is one of the 151 women who will be given e-rickshaws under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna’ that will launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Sector 62, Noida, on Tuesday.

The program will provide commuters with the ability to hire an e-rickshaw using a mobile application and ensure digital transfer of fare into the accounts of e-rickshaw drivers.

The move will empower women from poor financial backgrounds as it will give them a means of earning an income.

“When I learned about the e-rickshaw program during a nukkad natak (street play) in our locality, I decided to get one. My two sons are engaged in small-time jobs. My daughters study in class 9 and 11 and I hardly earn enough to fund their education. With an e-rickshaw, I will be able to support my daughters’ education,” Khursheeda said.

Likewise, Geeta Saxena, who works as a domestic help, is also preparing to be an e-rickshaw driver.

“Now, I will not have to look to anyone for money. I will become financially independent,” she said.

The officials of Bhartiya Micro Credit, the company facilitating the e-rickshaw distribution, said 151 women from the NCR region will be given e-rickshaws.

“We are also trying to give e-rickshaws to 21 transgenders. The documentation for seven is complete. Customers can book e-rickshaws via mobile apps and pay online,” said Vijay Pandey, managing director of Bhartiya Micro Credit.

“The women are trained in karate (for self defense) and have been educated about tourist destinations and local places,” Pandey said.

A ministry of finance statement said customers will be able to book e-rickshaws using the Ola app and pay online via Freecharge, which will be integrated under the Digital India initiative”.

Pandey said nearly Rs 68 crore for the 5,100 e-rickshaws — costing nearly Rs 1.33 lakh each — was sponsored by seven banks.

The free distribution of radio sets to e-rickshaw drivers is sponsored by four companies, including BMC.

Modi is also scheduled to launch the “Stand Up India” program and a web portal on Tuesday. The “Stand up India Program” is aimed to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe and women for loans in the range of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 100 lakh.

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