Thiruvananthapuram: Government vehicles with women drivers at the wheels will soon become a common sight on the roads of Kerala.
In a major decision to ensure gender equality, the state Cabinet on Wednesday decided to appoint women drivers in government departments and public sector undertakings. With this decision, another area which was dominated by men so far has now been opened to women. The government will amend the existing rules to appoint women drivers. This is perhaps the first time that a state government has taken such a decision.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government had taken a significant step towards ensuring gender equality. Earlier, the government had given representation to women in Fire and Rescue Department by deciding to create posts of fire women. “We are committed to gender equality,” he said.
Finance minister Dr Thomas Isaac tweeted; “Kerala government decides to recruit women to driver posts in different departments. Rules will be appropriately amended. Another male bastion falls.”
Kerala State Women Development Corporation (KSWDC) which will be implementing the project, plans to give training to women and encourage them to aquire commercial driving licences. The decision has been welcomed by a cross section of people.
Many feel that the government needs to come up with a solid plan to ensure that the project does not meet the fate of “She Taxi”. The initiative which bagged the Chief Minister’s Award for Innovation in Public Policy in 2014, was now in a crisis following a dip in the demand from their target group.
The programme launched in November 2013 was tipped to be a total game changer as it was aimed at providing self-employment opportunities to women with no regular income besides ensuring safe and convenient transportation facilities. Entry of online taxi services, lower rates contributed to the crisis.
The government decision also gives hope to “She Taxi” drivers as their experience will help them find jobs in PSU’s and departments....