January 11, 2024: In a pioneering move aimed at enhancing women’s safety and providing employment opportunities, the Maharashtra government is set to launch ‘Pink Rickshaws’ across 10 cities, including Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur. This groundbreaking initiative not only prioritizes the safety of women but also incorporates environmentally friendly e-rickshaws to combat pollution.
The unique aspect of this initiative is that the e-rickshaws will be exclusively driven by women. To encourage female empowerment, the government plans to provide a 20 percent subsidy to unemployed women looking to purchase a rickshaw. Applicants will contribute a nominal 10 percent of the cost, with the remaining 70 percent covered through bank loans.
Named ‘Pink Rickshaws,’ this scheme aims to offer a sustainable livelihood to financially disadvantaged women while ensuring the safety of female commuters in these cities. Dr. Prashant Narnaware, Commissioner of the Women and Child Development Department, highlighted that the initial proposal targets the deployment of 5000 pink rickshaws in the first year.
Underlining the financial support for women applicants, Narnaware emphasized that they would only need to contribute 10 percent of the rickshaw cost. Additionally, the incorporation of e-rickshaws in the ‘Pink Rickshaws’ scheme aligns with the government’s commitment to environmental sustainability, as these vehicles require less maintenance. It is worth noting that similar e-rickshaws have already been successfully launched in Goa, Lucknow, and Surat.
While the concept of women-driven rickshaws is not entirely new, the state government had previously introduced the ‘Aboli Rickshaw’ scheme. However, this scheme, which lacked a subsidy provision, saw limited success. Applicants were required to contribute 15 percent of the vehicle cost, with 85 percent covered through bank loans. The ‘Aboli Rickshaw’ scheme failed to gain traction, and few ‘aboli rickshaws’ can be spotted in Maharashtra today.
In contrast, the ‘Pink Rickshaws’ initiative represents a renewed and more comprehensive effort to empower women, ensuring both their safety and economic independence. As Maharashtra gears up for this transformative program, it not only addresses the critical issues of women’s safety and unemployment but also paves the way for a more sustainable and inclusive transportation system. Stay tuned as ‘Pink Rickshaws’ roll out to make a lasting impact on the lives of women across Maharashtra.