Ola Sainik to take on board 10,000 ex-servicemen by March 2016

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola, an app-based cab service provider, poses in front of an Ola cab in Mumbai March 3, 2015. Ola, India's largest online taxi business, will more than double its reach by expanding into 200 cities after this week's acquisition of rival TaxiForSure handed it control of more than 80 percent of the country's organised cab market. The company aims to capitalise on India's low level car ownership, with urbanites deterred by both the expense and the lack of parking space, its 29-year-old Chief Executive Aggarwal told Reuters on Tuesday. To match INDIA-OLA/ REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS) | Photo Credit: SHAILESH ANDRADE

If it succeeds the way it may, Indian roads will be relatively safer to travel with disciplined ex-servicemen running many cabs across the country.

Even as the Centre is struggling with millions of ex-servicemen on the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, app-based taxi aggregator Ola is expecting to take on board 5,000 to 10,000 former soldiers as entrepreneurs in this financial year as part of its ambitious plan “Ola Sainik” to enroll 100,000 ex-servicemen by 2020.

“Last week, we enrolled the first batch of nearly 20 ex-servicemen who will be trained on the Ola platform at their respective places. We have also tied up with SBI and other financial institutions to facilitate former soldiers get vehicle loans with minimum documentation,” Anand Subramanian, Ola’s spokesman, told BusinessLine , on Monday.

He said Ola’s partner-driver-entrepreneurs typically earn ₹80,000 to ₹90,000 per month in Bangalore and other major cities, which is shared by them in the 80:20 ratio with Ola. After meeting their EMI, fuel, and servicing expenses, the vehicle owners take-home nearly ₹30,000–35,000 per month. Thus, ex-servicemen, too, will be able to supplement their monthly incomes similarly, depending upon their places of operation.

Subramanium said, like other Ola-partners, ex-servicemen entrepreneurs would also have the flexibility to log-on or log-off the Ola platform.

The Bangalore-based mobile app for personal transportation had, on August 14, announced to take this step for the welfare of former jawans in partnership with the Directorate-General of Resettlement (DGR) under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), in what is seen as India’s first corporate partnership for resettlement of ex-servicemen.

“We don’t own taxies. Seventy per cent of our partner-drivers are also owners-entrepreneurs of their vehicles. We will help ex-servicemen become entrepreneur and acquire vehicles for their second career,” an Ola official said.

DGR is an inter-service organisation functioning directly under the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (Ministry of Defence) to assist former soldiers in training and acquiring additional skills and facilitating their resettlement through a second career.

The “Ola Sainik” scheme is meant to encourage ex-servicemen turn entrepreneurs with Ola. This association marks the beginning of what could potentially be one of the largest public-private partnerships between the state and a corporate, focused on transition from military to civilian life.

This initiative would involve Ola investing in the re-skilling of such interested candidates, helping them embrace technology and empower them to grow as skilled micro-entrepreneurs on the Ola platform. Ola Sainik will also, over a phased manner, make available larger benefits like training, education and insurance for the family members of ex-servicemen on the Ola app platform.

In order to maintain a youthful profile of the armed forces, approximately 60,000 service personnel are retired/released every year at a comparatively young age of 37 to 45 years, at a time when most of them have unfinished domestic responsibilities, which necessitate their taking up a second occupation.

‘Ola Sainik’ aims to help them with training, technology and a consistent revenue opportunity by giving access to customers on its platform, said Yugantar Saikia, Senior Vice-President, Ola.

Col. Vipin Patpatia, Joint Director, Directorate General of Resettlement, MoD, said Ola’s step would allow top-notch talent available to serve the nation again.

Founded in January 2011, by IIT-Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola currently provides services across over 100 cities with 250,000 vehicles through its app available on Windows, Android and iOS platforms. It recently acquired TaxiForSure, India’s second largest cab aggregator, which continues to operate as an independent brand.

Published on August 25, 2015
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