Punjab to flag off 100 Uber bike taxis for generating employment

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will on July 24 flag off the first set of 100 Uber bike taxis, under a new scheme aimed at generating jobs for the state’s unemployed youth.

Uber’s South Asia Public Policy Director Shweta Rajpal Kohli called on the chief minister on Monday to finalise the launch of the scheme, which will create 10,000 livelihood opportunities in Punjab in the next one year, an official spokesman said. A total of 45,000 jobs will be created under this scheme in the next five years, Kohli said after meeting Captain Amarinder.

Captain Amarinder had given the go-ahead to the launch of bike taxis or ‘baxis’ in the state in May as part of the government’s ‘Apni Gaddi, Apna Rozgar’ programme as promised in the Congress Assembly poll manifesto.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said after today’s meeting with the Uber representative that the company was also considering starting 7-seater vans in Punjab.

Uber has been present in the state for the past three years and has already created 10,000 jobs, Kohli said, adding that its new bike-sharing product ‘UberMoto’ was in line with the company’s commitment to providing affordable mobility options for riders and low entry barrier micro entrepreneurship opportunities for drivers.

Besides job creation, the initiative will encourage youth to engage in entrepreneurial business, while facilitating last-mile connectivity for commuters in areas not accessible by regular four-wheeler taxis.

Under the policy, currently in the process of finalisation by the transport department, existing and new motorcycle owners will be able to get commercial permits and licences to run two-wheelers as pillion taxis. Requiring minimal investment, the scheme is expected to create a major avenue for the unemployed youth to start their own business, the spokesperson explained.

As an additional advantage, the scheme, which is running successfully in other states  as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, Haryana, will also help reduce traffic on roads, besides controlling pollution.

The `Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme, as proposed in the Congress poll manifesto, envisages one lakh taxis, commercial LCVs and other vehicles to be provided to unemployed youth every year at subsidised rates, without collateral and with the government standing guarantee. The government proposes to tie up with major taxi operators, such as Ola and Uber, to ensure the success of the scheme, under which the youth will be expected to repay their loan in five years.