Parliament passes Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill
Parliament on Wednesday approved the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to impose strict penalties on violation of traffic rules and address the dire state of road safety in the country.
The bill was passed in Rajya Sabha after a division sought by CPI-M’s E Kareem was negated.
The government easily sailed through the vote with 108 members in its favour while 13 voted against it. Earlier, all the amendments moved by the opposition members were negatived by the voice vote.
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari asserted that the Bill was a step ahead in the direction of road safety and the number of accidents can be reduced to half after it becomes an Act.
Replying to members after a discussion on the bill, he also dispelled apprehension raised by some of the members that the proposed law encroaches upon state powers and encouraging the corporate sector to take over the transport sector.
“The government has no intention, directly or indirectly to encroach upon the rights of the states. We are not taking any of the rights of the states. We are modernizing the law to improve the traffic system,” he said.
Attributing most road accidents to faulty engineering, the Minister said that for the first time provision of fines for erring contractors has been made.
“Generally the drivers are blamed for the road accidents but I am of the opinion that it is due to road engineering. We are taking help of technology and innovations. As many as 786 black spots had been identified and are being fixed,” he said.
He said 15 lakh people die every year due to road accidents and the country is facing a shortage of 25 lakh trained drivers. The Bill has provisions for training drivers.
The bill proposes to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and also proposes the removal of the requirement for minimum educational qualification as long as the applicant holds a certificate from a driver training school or establishment.
Initiating the debate, Congress’ B K Hariprasad said that the Bill was defective and was not for the road safety but to help corporates.
“I admit that there is corruption in the RTOs but you are handing it over to the dealers. The issue of tax collection should be with the government and not with private bodies. This is a defective Bill,” he said.
BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabuddhe hailed Gadkari for bringing the Bill and said it should be passed as it was the necessity of the time.
“Without delay, this historic Bill should be passed,” he said.
Trinamool’s Manish Gupta opposed the Bill, saying the party has problems with many of its provisions. He also said the bill curtails the independence of the state governments.
“This bill in more ways than one dishonours the very idea of federalism,” Jha said.
AAP’s Sushil Kumar Gupta criticised the Bill and said that the only entities to benefit from the Motor Vehicles Bill, 2019 will be the insurance companies. He said the six-months window for applying for compensation with regard to road accidents.
Shiromani Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujral said that the Bill has been delayed for way too long and suggested that putting temperature control equipment in heavy vehicles so that drivers do not doze off. He also said that there should be a uniform road tax so that the consumer pays the same price all over the country.(ANI)