mini bus

According to the Union Budget announcement of 2016, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MVA) is going to be amended to include the private sector in the passenger vehicle segment of road transport, reports Business Standard. It is also getting rid of the permit law in public transport, which currently requires bus operators to get yearly permits to operate them, including a single district permit, permits for other districts and an all India permit.

Also see: Budget 2016-17: e-platform for agriculture, digital literacy, Aadhaar

The government will provide an ecosystem in which states can adopt a revised legal framework to boost road transport, including buses. These will obviously be subject to safety and efficiency norms, and the government thinks this will increase efficiency in public transport facilities, improve public convenience, create investments and new jobs, along with increasing entrepreneurs.

Higher spend on infrastructure
The budget has outlined Rs 2.21 lakh crore for infrastructure for 2016-17. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that 85% of the 70 stuck road projects (investments of Rs 1 lakh crore and 8,300 kms) have been put on track. It will also announce a new credit rating system for infrastructure. Jaitley said, “… India’s highest ever production of motor vehicles was achieved in 2015. This is a sign of growth in the economy; but it presents a challenge also. Therefore, we have speeded up the process of road construction.”

Fitness certificate necessary
Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court asked the Centre to consider amending the section 192 MVA in order to penalise vehicles which ply without fitness certificates. Shrikant Karve had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) with respect to the issue of non compliance of rules by RTOs, but were issuing fitness certificates. The state was also directed to conduct checks on fitness certificates of all vehicles for 15 days twice a year.

Last month, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked for the demolition of Rule 8 (pertaining to providing a Class 8 certificate) of the MVA which states that in order to get an auto driving license, drivers must produce Class 8 (8th standard) certificate.

Karnataka’s cab aggregator guidelines: Earlier this month, the Karnataka government released its own set of rules for online cab aggregators, while in October last year, the Maharashtra government proposed that online cab aggregators, such as Uber, Ola and TaxiForSure, be brought under the ambit of the Motor Vehicles Act.

MediaNama’s take: While the specifics of the amendment are not out yet, we think this is a progressive move by the government to ensure more facilities for commuters, as well as open up the game to companies, possibly leading to innovative solutions. It will also no longer be a fight to operate in India as a transport company.

Image Credit: Shankar S under CC BY 2.0