ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Bus Ride in Kolkata

This illustrative bus journey shows the many ways in which public transport in Kolkata is exclusionary.

I was heading home after attending a lecture on the “Capabilities Approach,” which is a theoretical framework used to measure the quality of human life and to assess government programmes. It focuses on the basic question: What is an individual actually “able to do and to be” with the resources and services available? The Capabilities Approach does not begin with the presumption that a “fair distribution of resources among the population necessarily leads to a good life for one and all.” Rather, it closely looks at the contingencies that hamper the conversion of resources and facilities into actual usage and real outcomes for the public.

It was an exceptionally hot summer evening. I stood at the bus stop pondering over the Capabilities Approach, waiting for an air-conditioned public bus. The Government of West Bengal under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) had introduced big, airy, state-of-the-art buses in the city a few years ago, having comfortable seats with more leg space, large glass windows and low footboards, in order to transform public transportation in Kolkata as well as provide comfortable and safe travel options for the urban commuter. Recently, the government has sought more funds under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for further developing public transport and building sustainable infrastructure and modern facilities in the city.

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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2019

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