New Delhi: The select committee on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, on Friday submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha, supporting the idea of one nation, one permit, one tax which will help states boost road tax revenue.
At present, interstate and national permits entail cumbersome procedures and payment of hefty taxes and fees. For instance, if a bus has to ply in the five southern states, it has to pay Rs42 lakh in permit fees every year. As a result of this bus operators in the country have been demanding an “open road" policy similar to the “open sky" policy in civil aviation, and that all permits be made national permits with the objective of one nation, one permit and one tax.
The committee headed by Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe in its report said that the proposed amendments would help in boosting the concept of cooperative federalism. It supported provisions for an increase in penalties on drivers causing accidents, strengthening of public transport and road safety, registration of new vehicles at the dealer’s end, allowing renewal of driving licences six months before and after the expiry date, a National Permit System and the concept of last mile connectivity as being citizen friendly.
The Lok Sabha had unanimously passed the bill earlier this year.
The panel said the bill would not in any way affect the independent functioning of state governments’ regional transport offices (RTOs)—a bone of contention with states. In fact, the report said the bill would make RTOs more transparent and accountable.
The 24-member committee submitted its report with dissent notes from five members of Parliament which includes Pramod Tiwari (Congress), B.K. Hariprasad (Congress), C.P. Narayanan (Communist Party of India (Marxist)), A. Navaneetha Krishnan (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and Manish Gupta (Trinamool Congress).
The panel supported the idea of introducing devices like speed cameras, closed-circuit television cameras, speed guns, body wearable cameras and other such technology. It recommended that every traffic policeman or RTO official enforcing the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and rules have a body-wearable camera and offences recorded be digitally stored and monitored in the control room. This, it said, would reduce arbitrariness and corruption by enforcement officials.
The committee suggested that the government formulate rules to ensure the safety of a child below the age of four riding on a two-wheeler regardless of socioeconomic situations prevailing in the country. It said: “The punishment in case of death in an accident by a drunken driver is proposed to be enhanced up to seven years in line with proposed amendments in IPC."
Apart from this, the committee also suggested that a proposal making it mandatory to have two drivers for heavy commercial vehicles running more than 500km be included in the rules.