50% of KSRTC driver jobs to go to women

BENGALURU: State-run buses could soon have more women at the wheel with the government looking at formulating a special policy to reserve 50% of drivers’ posts for women in Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).

Transport minister H M Revanna, who held a review meeting with officials of KSRTC and BMTC last Friday, has asked the authorities to come up with a draft policy to incentivize women candidates willing to take up the job of driving heavy transport vehicles (HTVs). They’d be trained and also given a special stipend, after which they’d be absorbed into service.

If this reservation indeed comes through, Karnataka will become the first state to set aside 50% of driving jobs for women in state-run transport utilities.

“We will not only give women free training in driving HTVs, but also issue them free driving licences. While countries such as China, Britain and Italy have women bus drivers, Karnataka will become the first state to provide 50% reservation for women in this job at government transport agencies,” Revanna told. “The minister wanted a special policy to encourage women to take up this job. Accordingly, work is in progress and we’ll soon call candidates for training,” said S R Umashankar, managing director, KSRTC.

The state transport ministry is planning to partner with Karnataka Vocational Training and Skill Development Corporation limited (KVTSDC) to train the women candidates. KSRTC officials said the training programme was expected to commence next month.

Nagaraj Yadav, BMTC chairman, said the corporation would utilize Rs 57 crore granted under the Nirbhaya fund to pay stipend to woman candidates. “The idea is in line with women empowerment and the move would definitely reduce rudeness on road,” said Yadav. He hoped women drivers would up the brand equity of government transport agencies, which are otherwise derided by public for rash driving and road rage.