Karnataka govt issues orders for ‘Shakti’ scheme offering women free bus rides with conditions attached

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Monday issued orders for the implementation of ‘Shakti’ scheme under which women can avail free travel in state-run buses with certain conditions, including reservation of 50 per cent seats for men, from June 11.

The Congress in its election manifesto had promised free rides for women in government buses and said this was one of the five poll guarantees that would come into effect the day it comes to power in the state.

According to the order, the beneficiaries of the scheme should be a domicile of Karnataka. Along with women, transgenders can also make use of the ‘Shakti’ scheme.

The beneficiaries of this scheme can travel only within the state and not in any inter-state buses.

All luxury buses such as Rajahamsa, Non-AC sleeper, Vajra, Vayu Vajra, Airavat, Airavat Club Class, Airavat Gold Class, Ambari, Ambari Dream Class, Ambari Utsav Fly Bus, EV Power Plus have been excluded from the purview of the scheme.

The government said the benefits of the scheme can be availed in the buses operated by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and Kalyana Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KKRTC).

Other than the BMTC, 50 per cent of seats will be reserved for men in the remaining three state road transport corporations — KSRTC, NWKRTC and KKRTC.

The order also stated that the reimbursement to road transport corporations would be made on the basis of actual distance travelled by women passengers.

In the next three months, women can apply for the Shakti Smart Card through the ‘Seva Sindhu’ government portal.

Till the Shakti Smart Cards are issued, beneficiaries can use the identity cards issued either by the Centre or state government, the order further stated.