Congress govt in Telangana flags off Mahalakshmi scheme offering women free rides on state-run buses

The government also unveiled a logo of Arogya Shree, the scheme which would hike health insurance coverage to ₹10 lakh.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Dec 09, 2023 | 3:20 PMUpdatedDec 09, 2023 | 5:14 PM

An ID card is mandatory for availing free travel on state-run non-luxury buses within Telangana. In picture, women riding the inaugural service. (Supplied)

The Congress government in Telangana flagged off its Mahalakshmi scheme — one of the six guarantees made ahead of the Assembly polls — on Saturday, 9 December.

The scheme offers free rides for women with valid ID cards on Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC)-operated buses within the state.

Women ministers Danasari Anasuya — better known as Seethakka — and Konda Surekha flagged off the bus from the Assembly premises on Saturday, coinciding with former AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s birthday.

Earlier, Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka inaugurated the scheme by pressing a button. They unveiled a zero-ticket poster indicating that the women, residing in Telangana, do not have to pay for travel on the state-run buses.

The chief minister and ministers travelled on the bus to the BR Ambedkar statue at Tank Bund and paid homage to the architect of the Indian Constitution.

Related: Telangana CM allocates portfolios to his 11 Cabinet colleagues

Arogya Shree logo unveiled

Mahalashmi free bus rides for women in Telangana

Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy displaying a zero ticket while on a bus ride.

The Congress government met the promise of free rides for women within two days of taking over the reins of the state government.

The government also unveiled a logo of Arogya Shree, marking the commencement of the scheme which would hike the health insurance coverage up to ₹10 lakh.

Women of all ages could travel to any destination in Telangana state on any bus service of the TRSTC except the airconditioned services. On the interstate routes, the women passengers need not pay anything until their journey crosses the state border. They have to carry their IDs to prove their state of domicile.

The Arogya Shree Health insurance cover to the people of Telangana has now gone up to ₹10 lakh. Till now the ceiling used to be ₹5 lakh which comprised ₹2 lakh from the state government and ₹3 lakh from the central government’s Ayushman Bharat. It has been estimated that the scheme would place an additional burden of ₹800 crore on the state exchequer.

The six guarantees made in Telangana were in line with the five made to the voters in Karnataka, which helped the Congress to assume power.