New Delhi: Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that 30 per cent of driving licences in the country were bogus and the motor vehicles amendment bill will streamline various regulatory processes to bring down the rate of accidents.
Moving the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for passage in the House, he said it will not encroach on powers of states and it will be for them to join the initiatives of the central government.
The minister said technology will be used to end any arbitrariness in issuing of driving licences and the bill has provisions so that people are encouraged to help accident victims.
He said use of technology will abolish fake registrations and said the government was making a National Transportation Policy.
Noting that 1.5 lakh deaths occur every year due to road accidents, Gadkari said one of his failures as a minister that he could not substantially bring this number down. “Thirty per cent of licences are bogus,” he said.
Gadkari said it is a common perception that it is easiest to get a driving licence in India due to laxity of official machinery.
The minister cited his own example to illustrate laxity in government departments in appointments of drivers and said he suffered a road accident in Maharashtra as his driver had impaired vision due to cataract in an eye.
He said one of the chief ministers told him that his driver could not see from both eyes and relied on his sense of hearing. Gadkari said he would not ask how members would have got their licenses as it can be embarrassing.
The minister said he had seen stunts in his childhood of man riding a motorcycle with his eyes covered and “such experiments were taking place”.
Gadkari’s remarks concerning driving evoked some laughter in the House.
He said steps are being taken to end human intervention in the process of issuing driving and vehicle fitness tests.
He said there were 25 lakh drivers and driving training institutes can be set up in rural and tribal areas.
The minister said he has a proposal to start electric double-decker service between major cities.
He said there was the need to increase the quantum of fines so that they occurred as a deterrent but the amounts were proportionate to fines in the past.
He referred to his efforts to get a similar bill passed earlier and expressed disappointment that the bill remained stuck in Rajya Sabha.