Pune: In an induction ceremony held on Friday evening, former President Pratibha Patil handed over appointment letters to 163 women who will join Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) as bus drivers

The induction ceremony also saw state transport minister Diwakar Raote and Shiv Sena leader Nilam Gorhe in attendance.

An official reportedly said that the MSRTC has relaxed few rules for the women drivers.

"Generally, an MSRTC driver is required to have a licence to drive a heavy motor vehicle (HMV) and needs three years heavy vehicle driving experience, but that rule has been relaxed. Now, women with one-year experience of driving a light motor vehicle (LMV) have been given the opportunity," he was quoted as saying.

The official also reportedly said that the minimum height requirement of 160 cm has been relaxed and reduced to 153 cm for them.

"The women will be inducted into the service after undergoing training," said an official.

Patil hailed the MSRTC’s step as “courageous” in her speech at the ceremony.

"To make it a success, all the stakeholders will have to take collective efforts," she said.

Stating the project was aimed at encouraging women drivers, Raote said all measures were taken to ensure the safety and security of these women."

The minister said that the state transport department was hopeful of having 10,000 more female drivers added to the MSRTC.