The Andheri RTO in Mumbai announced the results of its autorickshaw permit lottery on Tuesday.
For the first time, the government introduced a 5% reservation system for women and 548 women from across Maharashtra were granted permits under the system, reports The Times of India.
Of these, 465 women were from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region while the other 83 are from other parts of the state. The government is welcoming more applications from women as there are still 1,316 permits remaining to be allotted.
The Asian Age quoted State Transport Minister Diwakar Raote as saying that the autorickshaws with women drivers will not be coloured in the standard yellow and black; instead they will be either pink or saffron in colour in order to make it easier for commuters to make the distinction and "a woman can hail one down if she feels safer to travel in it”.
While certain rules have been relaxed for the female applicants, most of them are the same for drivers of both genders: they have to show a domicile of 15 years as proof of residence, they have to be fluent in speaking Marathi and they need not possess any educational qualifications, reports The Times of India.
Incidentally, Mumbai is not the first city to start the pink auto initiative. Ranchi had earlier started it following the Delhi gangrape of 2012.
However, that initiative ran into problems in 2015 due to permit issues, and many women drivers who had just got their first taste of financial independence, were left frustrated.
This article was first published in firstpost.com