Government today approved the much- awaited Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 that proposes hefty penalties for violation of traffic norms including up to Rs 10,000 fine for drunken driving and Rs 2 lakh compensation for hit-and-run cases. The bill also has provision of up to Rs 10 lakh compensation in case of road fatality. "The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. It is a historical step towards making our roads safe and save lakhs of innocent lives," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI after the meeting. He said the proposals are based on the recommendations of transport ministers from 18 states, and the bill includes penalties in the range of Rs 1000-Rs 4000 for over-speeding. As per the bill, driving without insurance will be punishable with Rs 2,000 fine and\/or three-month imprisonment, while driving without helmets will attract Rs 2,000 fine and 3-month suspension of licence. The provisions also include that guardian\/owner will be deemed to be guilty in case of road offence by juveniles while registration of the vehicle will be cancelled. As per the new provisions "guardian\/owner shall be deemed to be guilty and there will be a penalty of Rs 25,000 with three years imprisonment and cancellation of registration of the Motor Vehicle." Traffic violations also would now attract a penalty of Rs 500 in place of Rs 100 earlier while disobedience of orders of authorities will attract a minimum penalty of Rs 2,000 in place of Rs 500 earlier. Penalty for unauthorised use of vehicles without licence has been proposed at Rs 5,000 while those driving without license will have to shell out the same amount and those found driving despite disqualification would be fined a minimum Rs 10,000. The proposal also include penalties of Rs 1,000 in case of LMV and Rs 2,000 for medium passenger vehicle. Penalty for dangerous driving would be increased to Rs 5,000 from Rs 1,000 while drunken driving under the proposed new law would attract a fine of Rs 10,000. "If aggregators are found violating lincencing conditions, they will be charged a sum of up to Rs 1 lakh" while overloading of vehicles would attract a penalty of Rs 20,000. Those not wearing seat belts would attract Rs 1,000 fine and those found not wearing helmets while driving two-wheelers would be charged a penalty of Rs 1,000 while their licenses will be disqualified for three months. In the present Motor Vehicle Act, there are 223 Sections out of which the Bill aims to amend 68 sections. The Bill also proposes insertion of 28 new sections. "The important provisions include increase in compensation for Hit & Run cases from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh. It also has provision for payment of compensation upto Rs 10 lakh in road accidents fatalities," Gadkari said. The Minister said amendments mainly focus on issues relating to improving road safety, citizens' facilitation while dealing with the Transport Department, strengthening rural transport, last mile connectivity and public transport, automation and computerisation and enabling online services. He said the government is committed to reducing the accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent. The bill holds significance in the wake of India accounting for 5 lakh road accidents every year in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives. The bill was pending for long as many states had earlier expressed reservations saying that it may encroach upon their administrative among other rights. "The states are on board now after a Group of Ministeral panel of 18 Transport Ministers from different political parties deliberating on the issue and recommending penalties," the Minster added. The GoM headed by Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan had held three meetings and gave its recommendations to amend the present Motor Vehicle Act. Terming the proposed bill as "the biggest reforms in the Road Safety & transport sector" Gadkari said the Bill would overhaul the transport system bringing in transparency. The Bill propose to improve the transport scenario in the country by permitting the states to grant exemptions in stage carriage and contract carriage permits for promoting rural transport, public transport, last mile connectivity and for passenger convenience and road safety. It also proposes that the State Government can specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than 10, to be applied to each fine under this Act and such modified fine. The bill proposes that the State Government can regulate the activities in a public place of pedestrians and such means of transport. "Improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill. This include enabling online learning licenses, increasing validity period for driving licenses, doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses are some of the features," the Minister said. Also, to improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabled and restrictions have been imposed on temporary registration. In the area of road safety, besides proposing to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations, to help the road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill. The Bill also proposes to mandate the automated fitness testing for the transport vehicles with effect from 1st October 2018. "This would reduce corruption in the Transport Department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle. The penalties are also proposed for deliberate violation of safety\/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers," Gadkari said. To bring harmony of the registration and licensing process, it is proposed to create National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration through "Vahan" & "Sarathi" platforms, an official statement said. This will facilitate uniformity of the process across the country. The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively. The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act. As per the statement the driving training process will be been strengthened enabling faster issuance of transport licences. This will help in reducing the shortage of commercial drivers in the country. "To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, the bottlenecks have been removed in respect of grant of driving licenses as well as alterations in the vehicles to make it fit for use of Divyang," the statement said. Meanwhile Gadkari expressed confidence that Parliament will take up the amendments next week and appealed to all parties to support the bill terming it a step in right direction to provide safe & public friendly transport ecosystem. Indian roads witness 400 deaths every day and see nearly five lakh road accidents a year in which 1.5 lakh people die and another three lakh get crippled.