Lok Sabha passes bill to reform transport sector

DN Bureau

The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to slap heavy penalty on traffic violators, not valid driving licenses and vehicle thefts, promote e-governance

The basic aim of the Bill is “to save human lives”, as rate of road accidents claiming lives across the country is increasing
The basic aim of the Bill is “to save human lives”, as rate of road accidents claiming lives across the country is increasing

New Delhi: A bill to unleash radical reforms in the transport sector by ensuring 100% e-governance, checking bogus driving licenses and vehicle thefts, slapping heavy penalty on traffic violators and protecting the good Samaritan was approved by the Lok Sabha on Monday.


All efforts would be made to eliminate corruption in the sector, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said while replying to a discussion on the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016, claiming that “no bogus driving licenses would be made and there would be no theft of the vehicles once there is e-governance.”


The bill was passed by a voice vote after several opposition amendments were rejected, including one moved by a Communist Party of India (Marxist)CPI(M) member on enhancing the compensation in case of accidents, was defeated by 37 votes in favour and 221 against.


There should be uniformity in the rules concerning issuance of driving licenses, the minister said, adding that through “e-governance, there would be provision of electronic registration.”


The bill seeks to “save lives” by ushering in radical reforms in the motor vehicles law to slap heavy penalty on traffic violators, protecting good samaritans and making vehicle-makers responsible for design defects to cut road accidents.


The basic aim of the Bill is “to save human lives”, as a whopping five lakh accidents take place every year claiming around 1.5 lakh lives across the country.


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“Once we (BJP) complete five years, we would be able to save 50% lives lost due to road accidents. We are working towards it,” Gadkari said.


The minister said once the changes are incorporated in the law, it would be impossible for anyone including VIPs like politicians to obtain driving license without tests.


“Even as a minister I would not be able to obtain driving license sitting at home,” Gadkari stressed.


On a specific opposition amendment on compensation which was defeated by 221 votes against to 37 in favour, Gadkari said it would not be possible to increase the compensation in case of death to Rs20 lakh as it would entail substantial hike in insurance premium.


The amendment was moved by CPI-M member Sankar Prasad Datta.


Stressing that any kind of corruption would not be tolerated in the transport sector, he said “we will have to bring online governance to put an end to the corruption. Corruption would not be tolerated and we are firm on this.”


Observing that was corruption at the state check posts and the Centre was in touch with state to deal with the issue.


The bill seeks to make services like issuance of license totally transparent and online and provides for punitive action against officials in case of delay in issuing of the document to eligible applicants.


Under the new system, everyone will have to go to the license issuing authorities under a uniform procedure and if the license is not issued in three days, then the RTO will have to face action.


A learner’s license can be availed online sitting at home. Responding to the concerns of members, he said there would be no cap on compensation to be paid by insurance companies to the victims of road accidents. (PTI)

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