New Delhi: The Union Road, Transport and Highways Ministry has made it clear that driving licences will be issued by states only, allaying fears that the motor vehicles bill could impinge on the states’ rights.
The comments of the Union ministry have come in response to objections raised by all parties in the Rajya Sabha where the motor vehicles bill is pending for clearance. All parties in the Rajya Sabha had submitted their objections on the bill in writing.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari submitted his ministry’s reply to Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on Thursday , official sources said.
In the reply, the ministry said the Centre will not establish driving schools and people will have to take license from state governments only, official sources said.
Even existing driving schools may upgrade their infrastructure according to the specified standards. States can also accredit such schools, they said.
Earlier, DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, on behalf of southern states Transport Ministers, had raised concerns in Rajya Sabha that the bill has provisions that the central government can also establish new driving schools.
Tiruchi Siva had said that it is not clear what the purpose of the new provision is and it merely abridges the powers which have been conferred on State Governments. Sources also added that Congress and All India Trinamool Congress had sought no clarifications on the Bill.
The Union ministry said that a new provision in the proposed Bill was to cover the Institutions of Excellence created under skill Development Programme to improve quality. It said the Central Government proposes a scheme to provide financial assistance to established 2000 motor driving schools with the States to improve the driving training standards in the country and particularly in rural areas. This scheme shall be launched shortly.
The bill seeks to amend nearly 30-year old Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last year but got stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the Opposition members demanded that it be sent to the Select Committee of the House for proper scrutiny.
The Opposition parties have been alleging that the provisions in the bill are too harsh and need a relook, for which it should be referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.
The bill aims at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector like heftier fines for traffic rules violations, improve licensing system and check bogus licenses.
The bill is aimed at ushering in multi-fold hike in fine for traffic violations, compensation of Rs 5 lakh for grave injuries, and check bogus licenses and vehicle thefts.