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New Delhi : The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by Rajya Sabha on July 31, 2019. Speaking on the occasion, Road Transport & Highways and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari said the much needed amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport and last mile connectivity through automation, computerisation and online services.

The Minister reiterated that the Bill would, in no way, encroach upon the powers and authorities of the states. He said the Bill would rather empower the states.  He added that the Bill will provide an efficient, safe and corruption free transport system in the country.

The Bill has been passed with three Government amendments and will need to go back to Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill on July 23, 2019.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of States constituted by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments.

The GoM was headed by Yoonus Khan, the then Transport Minister of Rajasthan, and had 18 State Transport Ministers from different political parties as members. On the basis of recommendations of the GoM and other pressing requirements, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. This, along with amendments, was passed by Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017. The Bill as passed by Lok Sabha was introduced in Rajya Sabha and was referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on August 8, 2017. The Select Committee presented its report to the Parliament on December 22, 2017. The Bill was pending in the Rajya Sabha and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

The amendments in the Bill 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, according to a PIB release.

In the area of road safety, the Bill proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations.  Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, and overloading etc.  Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations.

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