Meet Paramjeet Kaur, Uber's first woman bike taxi driver from Punjab

Punjab just got its bike taxis and a 52-year-old grandmother from Mohali’s Phase 11 is among the 100  riders to offer such services as part of the Punjab government’s ‘Apni Gaddi, Apna Rozgar’ programme.

This bike taxi service is part of a new government scheme called Apni Gaddi, Apna Rozgar, aimed at generating jobs for the state’s unemployed youth. To start with, the bike taxis will start plying in Mohali, Ludhiana, Zirakpur and Kharar. Existing and new motorcycle owners will be able to get commercial permits and licences to run two-wheelers as pillion taxis. And this taxi service has paved the way for India's first female bike driver Paramjeet Kaur. 

Paramjeet, who raised her three children by herself after the death of her husband many years ago, says the service offers her a great opportunity to supplement her income. "I am very happy to become part of the new taxi service,” she told Hindustan Times. Regarding her apprehensions on the several types of clients that she might have to face, Kaur added, “I am quite sure that people will be nice to me and appreciate my hard work.”

Paramjeet is a mother of three children. His elder son has a three-year-old daughter. Her daughter, married in Shimla, is also expecting a baby soon. Her youngest son is studying, reported HT on Monday. 

With a contract that pays Paramjeet on an hourly basis, she said that she was happy with the terms and conditions of the company. “They have given me a target of six rides a day. But in case, my target is not met until late night, it can be transferred to another driver," she told HT

Madhu Bala, who belongs to Zirakpur, is another female bike taxi driver in Punjab. She is already a part-time accountant and an LIC agent.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian National Congress Leader from Punjab, Manpreet Singh Badal said that it was one of the series of initiatives the Congress government plans to undertake as part of its pre-poll promise to provide 25 lakh jobs in next five years. He added that this scheme will employ at least 1 lakh young people every year and the government plans to partner with more companies of different spheres in order to generate employment.

In addition to this, Ola is also going to launch a similar service in several cities of Punjab in partnership with the state. The test run has already started. 

The Apni Gaddi, Apna Rozgar scheme, as proposed in the 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. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh said that such an initiative will encourage youth to engage in enterpreneurial business, while facilitating last-mile connectivity for commuters in areas not accessible by regular four-wheeler taxis.

Uber has been present in Punjab for the past three years and has already created 10,000 jobs. The company's  South Asia Public Policy Director Shweta Rajpal Kohli added 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.

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