New Delhi, Aug. 3 : The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave its approval for the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016.
Every year five lakh road accidents are reported in the country in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives.
The government is committed to reduce the accidents and fatalities by 50 percent in five years. To address the issue of road safety, a draft Road Transport and Safety Bill was prepared soon after NDA Government came to power.
However, most of the states have expressed reservations. To address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways constituted a Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of the states.
The GoM headed by Yoonus Khan, Transport Minister of Rajasthan held three meetings. A total of 18 Transport Ministers from different political parties participated in these meetings and they have submitted three interim reports.
The GoM recommended that to address the pressing issue of road safety and improving transport scenario, government should immediately bring amendments to the present Motor Vehicle Act.
On the basis of recommendations of the GoM and other pressing requirements, MoRTH introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 for consideration of the Cabinet.
In the present Motor Vehicle Act, there are 223 Sections out of which the Bill aims to amend 68 sections whereas Chapters 10 has been deleted and a Chapter 11 is being replaced with new provisions to simplify third party insurance claims and settlement process.
The important provisions include increase in compensation for Hit and Run cases from Rs. 25000 to Rs. two lakhs. It also has provision for payment of compensation up to Rs. 10 lakh in road accidents fatalities. The Bill also proposes insertion of 28 new sections. The amendments mainly focus on issues relating to improving road safety, citizens' facilitation while dealing with the Transport Department.
Strengthening rural transport, last mile connectivity and public transport, automation and computerization and enabling online services.
The Bill propose to improve the transport scenario in the country by permitting the states to grant exemptions in stage carriage and contract carriage permits for promoting rural transport, public transport, last mile connectivity and for passenger convenience and road safety.
The Bill proposes that the state government can specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than ten, to be applied to each fine under this act and such modified fine.
The bill proposes that the state government can regulate the activities in a public place of pedestrians and such means of transport.
Improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill.
This include enabling online learning licenses, increasing validity period for driving licenses, doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses are some of the features.
The Bill proposes offences committed by Juveniles. The Guardian / owner shall be deemed to be guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles and Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act.
Registration of Motor Vehicle to be cancelled To improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabled and restrictions have been imposed on temporary registration.
In the area of road safety, bill proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations.
Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc.
Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations.
To help the road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill. The Bill also proposes to mandate the automated fitness testing for the transport vehicles with effect from 1st October 2018.
This would reduce corruption in the Transport Department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle.
The penalties are also proposed for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers.
To bring harmony of the registration and licensing process, it is proposed to create National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration through "Vahan" and "Sarathi" platforms.
This will facilitate uniformity of the process across the country. The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively.
The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the act. The driving training process has been strengthened enabling faster issuance of transport licenses. This will help in reducing the shortage of commercial drivers in the country. To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, the bottlenecks have been removed in respect of grant of driving licenses as well as alterations in the vehicles to make it fit for use of Divyang.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has termed the Motor vehicle (Amendment) 2016 passed by cabinet as biggest reforms in the Road Safety (and) transport sector.
He has expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for his guidance and support. He has also expressed his special appreciation for the efforts put in by group of state Transport Ministers to formulate these amendments.
He has also expressed his confidence that parliament shall take up the amendments next week and has appealed to all parties to support the bill which a step in right direction to provide safe and public friendly transport eco system.