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Karnataka Shakti Scheme 2024: Empowering Women with Free Bus Travel

The Karnataka Shakti Scheme, launched in June 2023, provides free bus travel to women across the state. This flagship initiative of the Karnataka government aims to empower women and promote gender equality through enhanced mobility.

Karnataka Shakti Scheme 2024

An Overview of the Karnataka Shakti Scheme

The Shakti Scheme allows women to travel for free on all non-premium buses run by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and other state-owned transport companies. It covers over 42 lakh women in the state. The scheme issues every beneficiary a Shakti Smart Card that serves as a free bus pass with unlimited validity.

The state government allocated Rs.2,800 crore for the scheme in 2023-24. By January 2024, it had already provided free travel worth Rs.2,397.8 crore, benefitting 18-19 lakh women daily. The massive uptake led the government to allocate more funds to sustain the scheme's momentum.

The Shakti Scheme is one of the poll promises made by the ruling Congress party in Karnataka. It aims to empower women by improving access to education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities.

Major Benefits

  • Saves travel expenses for women
  • Increases women's access to essential services like schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Boosts safety through CCTV cameras, GPS, etc. on buses
  • Generates revenue for state transport corporations
  • Allows route and seat searches via app
  • Promotes gender equality and women empowerment

The Shakti Scheme aims to directly address the constraints faced by women in availing transport facilities. By eliminating costs, it facilitates greater mobility and access to services essential for their welfare.

Objectives of the Scheme

The primary objectives of the Shakti Scheme are:

  • Provide free bus travel to women across Karnataka
  • Boost women's access to education, jobs, healthcare, and other services
  • Promote gender equality and empowerment of women
  • Enhance safety and security of women in public transport
  • Increase revenue and ridership for state-owned transport companies

By improving women's ability to travel freely, the scheme seeks to bring about positive impacts on their lives. It aims to foster their progress and participation in social, economic, and other spheres.

Eligibility Criteria

To avail the Shakti Scheme's benefits, the applicant must:

  • Be a woman or transgender person
  • Be a domicile of Karnataka
  • Possess valid ID proof like Aadhaar, driving license, etc.
  • Not already be eligible for free travel under linguistic minority quota
  • Not be an employee of KSRTC or other state transport companies

Eligible individuals can apply online on the Seva Sindhu portal. They have to submit identity documents and get a Shakti Smart Card - the free bus pass. The scheme aims to empower underprivileged women experiencing financial constraints for travel.

Application Process

To apply for the Shakti Scheme's free bus pass:

  1. Visit the Seva Sindhu portal - https://sevasindhuservices.karnataka.gov.in/
  2. Register on the portal if new user
  3. Log in to the portal with credentials
  4. Go to Shakti Smart Card application form
  5. Fill in the required details
  6. Upload identity proof documents
  7. Submit the application online

The user-friendly Seva Sindhu portal enables easy application submission. Once approved, applicants gain access to free statewide bus travel through the Shakti Smart Card.

Important Details

Scheme Name Details
Launch Date June 11, 2023
Beneficiaries Women & Transgenders in Karnataka
Key Benefit Free bus travel across state
Budget Rs.2,800 crore in 2023-24
Implementing Agency KSRTC & State Transport Companies

The Shakti Scheme has emerged as one of Karnataka government's flagship programs. Its unique promise of free statewide bus travel for women underscores its immense transformative potential.

Impact of the Scheme

The Shakti Scheme has had far-reaching impacts within just a few months of its launch.

  • Over 42 lakh women availing free bus travel
  • Daily ridership of 18-19 lakh women passengers
  • Provided free travel worth Rs.2,397.8 crore so far
  • Saved travel costs for women passengers
  • Boosted women's access to education, jobs, healthcare, etc.
  • Empowered women and promoted gender equality
  • Increased revenue for state transport undertakings

By lifting financial burdens and enhancing access to opportunities, the scheme has set in motion a quiet transformation in women's lives. Its impacts validate the wisdom behind this progressive initiative.

Way Forward

The runaway success of the Shakti Scheme within a short span spotlights its immense merits. However, certain steps can enhance its effectiveness further.

  • Expand coverage to more beneficiaries
  • Increase frequency of buses on high-demand routes
  • Deploy more buses with security features like CCTV, panic buttons etc.
  • Conduct awareness campaigns especially in rural areas
  • Upgrade online application process for ease of use
  • Rope in NGOs and SHGs for on-ground assistance

With continuous improvements in scale, safety and accessibility, the Shakti Scheme can unleash its full revolutionary potential. It can permanently transform Karnataka's public transport landscape while uplifting countless women's lives.

Conclusion

The Karnataka Shakti Scheme stands out as an innovative, progressive initiative that provides free bus travel to women across the state. In one sweeping step, the scheme has expanded opportunities, promoted empowerment and ignited aspirations. Its impacts validate the government's vision of engendering transformative social change through enhanced mobility. With thoughtful expansions in coverage and safety, the Shakti Scheme can catalyze Karnataka's march towards an equitable future defined by women's unhindered access and participation.

FAQs

Q1: Who can avail the Karnataka Shakti Scheme?

A1: All women and transgender people who are domiciled in Karnataka are eligible for free travel under the scheme.

Q2: What is the validity of the Shakti Smart Card?

A2: The Shakti Smart Card has unlimited validity. No renewal is required.

Q3: Which buses can I travel in for free?

A3: The scheme is applicable for travel on all non-premium buses operated by state transport companies.

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