The Rajya Sabha has cleared the Motor Vehicle
(Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
It seeks to improve road safety through
multifold increase in penalities for traffic violations. It also aims to streamline
the licensing and road permit process.
The Bill proposes a National Transportation
Policy for ushering in guidelines on the transportation of goods and
passengers. The Policy will envision a) establishing a planning framework for
road transport, b) developing a framework for grant of permits, and c)
specifying priorities for the transport system, among other things.
The Bill has proposed that the central
government should develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident
victims during golden hour. It defines golden hour as the time period of up to
one hour following a traumatic injury. During this time, the likelihood of
preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
The Bill also requires the central government to
constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover
to all road users in India.
The Bill provides for increasing the minimum
compensation in case of death in hit and run cases from the current Rs. 25,000
to Rs 2 lakh and in case of grievous injury from current Rs.12500 to Rs 50000.
Further, the bill states that new vehicles
should be registered at the dealer level and it will eventually remove buyers’
interface with registration authorities.
The Bill also provides for a National Road
Safety Board, to be created by the central government. The board will advise
the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic
The Bill also call for issuance of licenses to
taxi aggregators by state. Further, they must comply with the Information
Technology Act, 2000. It defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or
market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for
transportation purposes (taxi services).
The bill has been criticised by the opposition on
two grounds: a) increased privatisation of the transport sector, for example:
registering of vehicles by auto dealers, and b) infringement of rights of