Kerala Govt to set up radio taxi service to empower SC/ST youth

Government of Kerala is all set to launch an online taxi service scheme, aimed at creating job opportunities for youth from SC/ST community in the state.

The government will provide a total of 150 taxis for eligible beneficiaries from across the state. It will provide Rs 1 lakh in grant and the rest of the amount will be granted by the Kerala State Development Corporation for Scheduled Caste and Tribe Ltd as loans with minimal interest rates.

The beneficiaries can acquire the taxi by repaying the loan over a period of two years.

The first phase of the scheme, titled ‘Steering’, will be implemented in five districts- Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Thrissur and Kozhikode. There will be 30 taxis in each district during the first phase of the project.

Consumers can utilize the service using a centralised call centre or a smartphone app.

Members of the SC/ST community, aged between 18 and 35 and those with a driving license can apply for the service.

The taxi service scheme comes less than three months after the government launched the ‘Amazon Shell’ programme to help women entrepreneurs in the state.

Under the scheme launched by Kudumbashree, a poverty eradication and women empowerment programme implemented by the State Poverty Eradication Mission of the Kerala Government in partnership with e-commerce giant Amazon, or pioneering Kudumbashree’s scheme called ‘Amazon Shell’. Under the scheme, Amazon India said that it will support, train and empower women entrepreneurs associated with the organisation and provide a marketplace for them to showcase their products to Amazon customers across the country.

Kerala government’s taxi service scheme comes less than a year after Karnataka government launched its first-of-its-kind strategic livelihood programme, called ‘Airavata’.

The Karnataka scheme, launched in partnership with Uber in September 2018, aims to provide employment opportunities for SC/ST youth. It involves partnering with service providers and aggregators to create job opportunities for members from SC/ST community ownership of cabs and taxis.

The announcement comes days after the Left Front govt got a severe drubbing in general elections as minority voters consolidated behind the Congress Party and a part of the Left’s Hindu voters shifted to the NDA.