Uber India pitches for deregulation of transport industry

Uber has seen stiff resistance from local black and yellow taxis and has had several run-ins with the government over pricing and permits


Uber India President Amit Jain. Photo: Abhinav Saha/Hindustan Times
Uber India President Amit Jain. Photo: Abhinav Saha/Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Taxi-hailing company Uber India pitched on Friday for deregulation of the transport industry to ensure a level-playing field.

“I urge the government that let’s not put onerous regulations that might have existed before. Let’s deregulate and make it a level playing field for everybody,” Uber India president Amit Jain said at a panel discussion on ‘Cracking India’s Urban Code’ at the India Economic summit of the World Economic Forum.

“If you have five regulations on supply caps, price restrictions, on other areas that are hurdles to the transportation industry, let’s remove them.”

Uber has seen stiff resistance from local black and yellow taxis and has had several run-ins with the government over pricing and permits.

Jain said the challenge is to show regulators and policymakers the benefits of the use of technology for the riders, drivers and the cities at a time when increasing urbanization is pushing up demand for infrastructure and mobility requirements.

“It is not an easy path but it is the only way to get there. The question that they should ask is—is this going to reduce pollution and congestion in cities and make transportation easier? For instance, ride sharing in India is cutting edge and will reduce the number of cars on the road,” he said.

Jain added that technological advancement will always outpace regulations.

“To wait for regulations to change before innovations to happen, it is a much longer time period than bringing innovation to technology and then bringing regulators along,” he said.

Another panellist, Pratik Agarwal, chief executive officer at Sterlite Power, said that there is no need for a Smart City Mission but what is required is providing basic facilities in cities like water, electricity, connectivity and affordable housing.

“There is a need for bringing in competition in delivery of basic services and utilities like the existing competition in transportation thanks to Uber. Right now, no one loses jobs if garbage is not collected or if there is 10-hour load shedding in the city,” he said. “This is something that has to be done by states and municipalities.”

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