All parties in the Rajya Sabha will give their objections on the proposed Motor Vehicles Bill in writing before a decision can be taken on its fate, according to a decision taken at a meeting here today. The parties will submit their views to Deputy Chairman P J Kurien by Monday, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said after the all-party meeting held on the bill which aims at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector. 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. “It was decided in the meeting that all parties will give their objections and amendments in writing to the Deputy Chairman by Monday. These will be examined by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and a written reply will be submitted to the Deputy Chairman,” Gadkari told reporters. Subsequently, another all-party meeting will be held and if matters are not resolved even after this, then the Deputy Chairman may decide to refer it to the Select Committee, he added. “In the interest of the people, there is an imperative need to bring the Act expeditiously as India accounts for about 5 lakh accidents per annum. Any delay will lead to unnecessary and preventable loss of lives,” he said.
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 bill aims at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector like heftier fines for traffic rules violations, improve the licensing system and check bogus licenses. Yesterday Kurien has said, “There were a lot of objections and Opposition to some of the clauses of Motor Vehicle Bill. I myself suggested to LoP (Leader of Opposition) that he may discuss with Minister that he can accommodate some of the views. Later I understand that the Minister (Gadkari) himself was ready to accommodate.” Earlier, Gadkari on July 24 has requested for convening the all-party meeting of the Upper House members to allay any apprehensions regarding the bill. The Minister has said that he is ready to accept suggestions from all political parties on the bill as “it is not a political agenda, and his ministry is looking to transform the sector where about 30 per cent licenses are bogus.”
Gadkari has expressed sadness over 1.5 lakh deaths on Indian roads every year and hoped that the government will be in a position to check this with stringent laws. The Congress and the DMK in the Rajya Sabha on July 24 had demanded that the bill is referred to a Select Committee of the House for proper scrutiny.Anand Sharma (Cong) had said that the issue was discussed in the Business Advisory Committee and many parties had raised concerns and reservation that the Standing Committee suggestions were not accepted fully. Standing Committee on Transport and Tourism has already examined the Bill. 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.