The Madhya Pradesh government is to reserve a special seat for lactating mothers in all passenger buses in the state. The seat will be covered with curtains from all sides, and the buses operator will be responsible for implementing the changes.
The Minister of Home and Transport Bhupendra Singh has said that the officials concerned have been asked to implement the plan, and that the decision has been taken while keeping a woman’s dignity in mind, according to PTI.
The first seat behind the driver seat will be reserved for mothers. The new condition will be linked to new bus permits, said Singh.
Maharastra is implementing its own scheme to make transport for women easier. This year, it will roll out Tejaswini buses, i.e special buses for women passengers, which will be driven by women. As many as 300 buses will be available for women in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Dombivli and Nagpur.
The services will be run by the municipal corporation or the civic arm that operates public transport in the city.
The central government’s implementation of maternity benefit schemes has received a lot of flak.The allocation to maternity benefits scheme – the Indira Gandhi Matritva Was Yojana – was increased from Rs 400 crore to Rs 2,700 crore in the 2017 budget.
The scheme is meant to compensate women, above the age of 19, who are below the poverty line for wages lost due to child bearing. Rs 6,000 is to be transferred to the bank accounts of women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. However, experts say that the allocated Rs 2,700 crore is less than 30 per cent of what is required for universal coverage.