Vidiyal Payanam Scheme


Gender justice has been a cornerstone of several social justice measures undertaken by the Government of Tamil Nadu over the past 50 years. The Tamil Nadu Human Development Report (2017) highlights that our State has one of the highest rates of work participation of women in the country.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women and has compounded their vulnerabilities, especially in the informal economy due to livelihood loss. 

Against this backdrop, the flagship Vidiyal Payanam Scheme – announced by the Tamil Nadu Government in May 2021 – waives charges for travel by the women commuters in ordinary fare State-owned public buses. 

To evaluate the scheme’s impact on women commuters, the State Planning Commission undertook a study in two phases – first in the Chennai metropolitan area and further in 3 urban nodes in the State, i.e: Nagapattinam, Madurai and Tiruppur. The study covered the age profile, social category, educational profile, income profile and average savings of women commuters.

Key Insights

From the Impact Assessment Studies, we are able to conclude that the Vidiyal Payanam scheme has helped women bus commuters by –

  • Contributing to higher disposable income
  • Enabling higher work participation among women
  • Contributing to their empowerment and dignity, by reducing their dependence on family members for their mobility
  • Benefiting low income categories of women more and the savings derived partly helps to cushion from the impact of retail inflation
  • Improving their social well-being, as more women are now able to access new learning/skilling opportunities in urban areas, as well as to access urban leisure spaces at reduced cost.