Senior Congress leader B K Hariprasad raised a point of order in this regard just before Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari moved the bill for consideration and passage in the Upper House.
The Congress on Wednesday alleged that the Centre has “hoodwinked” Rajya Sabha on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill as it was “defective” and not in the form passed in Lok Sabha last week, a charge rejected by the government. Senior Congress leader B K Hariprasad raised a point of order in this regard just before Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari moved the bill for consideration and passage in the Upper House.
“Sir, it is a defective bill. The minister has brought an amendment under the clause 94 and sub-section 4 of the bill. “The clause 94 was not there in the 1989 Act nor it is there in the Act which was passed in Lok Sabha. It has come to this House without taking approval from the other House,” Hariprasad said raising the point of order under Rule 258. He alleged that “the government has hoodwinked the House and brought the bill here”.
Congress leaders were standing on their feet demanding that the Chair should not allow the minister to move the bill. However, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asked the protesting members to highlight any defect in the bill during the debate and said the minister will reply to their queries. Amid protest by Congress members, Gadkari moved the bill saying, “I have brought in Rajy Sabha whatever bill was passed in Lok Sabha.”
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 aims to infuse more discipline on roads by tightening rules and increasing penalities. It also brings a sea change in how Indian roads and vehicular transportation are governed. Stating that maximum road accidents in the world occur in India, Gadkari noted that annually about five lakh road accidents take place in the country, in which there are 1.5 lakh deaths and 65 per cent of them are youth.
Therefore, road safety has been given priority in the bill to curb the number of road accidents. Tamil Nadu government has brought down the number of road accidents by 29 per cent and the Centre wants to implement that model across the country, he said.
Since 40 per cent road accidents take place on highways, the government has decided to identify the “blackspots” for which Rs 14,000 crore will be spent. The government has submitted a proposal to the ADB Bank seeking funds for the project, he added.
Urging the members to pass the bill, the Minister said it has been “pending for long” and that it is not a “political subject”. The law is required to curb road accidents and this amendment bill will help bring down the number of road accidents by 50 per cent, he said.
The Minister also praised the southern states for operating transporation corporations effectively unlike in northern states. While initiating the debate, Congress’ Hariprasad alleged that the government was “misleading” Rajya Sabha by bringing in a bill which is not the same one that was passed in the Lower House.