Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that women can now travel for free in Delhi Transport Corporation and cluster buses, PTI reported. Assembly elections are due in Delhi early next year.

In his address through the recently-launched mobile application called “AK app”, Kejriwal said similar facilities may be also offered to senior citizens and students in the coming days, after the Delhi government analysed the results of the current scheme that allows free travel for women. “Every step cannot be completed at once,” he said. “We will definitely do it.”

Under the scheme, women will be given pink tickets of face value of Rs 10 by conductors for free-travel. The Delhi government will reimburse the transport corporation based on the number of such tickets issued.

Kejriwal claimed the move will help bridge gender inequality. “Now, girls and women who had to drop out of schools and colleges because of high transportation cost don’t need to sacrifice their education,” he said. “They can now take buses to good schools and colleges which are away from their homes. Similarly, women whose offices are far need not worry about transportation cost.”

The chief minister also criticised Opposition for questioning the motive behind his plans, which come ahead of elections. “Rajiv Gandhi [former prime minister] had said out of Rs 100 spent for welfare of people, Rs 85 goes into corruption and just Rs 15 reaches people,” Kejriwal said. “We are saving those Rs 85 and giving facilities to the people of Delhi. Then what problem does the Opposition parties have if I am working towards the welfare of the people. They should get above politics in these matters,” he added.

Kejriwal said the government will also deploy nearly 10,000 marshals to ensure the safety of women inside the buses. “I warn all goons harassing women in buses that if you try to harass women there are marshals to take care of you,” he said.

On Monday, the government issued a notification implementing the free-ride scheme and notified an amendment to the Delhi Transport Corporation (Free and Concessional Passes) Regulations 1985 to enable the issuance of single journey passes.

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