RS: Debate on bill to amend Motor Vehicles Act to resume next Monday

RSTV Bureau


File Photo of Rajya Sabha

File Photo of Rajya Sabha

The discussion on Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 will now be held next Monday, July 31.

The discussion was earlier scheduled to resume today, but TMC MP Derek O’ Brien said in the Rajya Sabha that several opposition parties have amendments to move in the Bill and that they will discuss the issue with the Union transport minister to find a solution.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, on Monday opposed the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act in the Rajya Sabha, saying it would help the corporate and dilute the powers of the state governments.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, was introduced in the Upper House in April 2017 but was referred to a select panel.

After taking into account the panel’s recommendation, the bill was re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage on Monday, Minister of State for Transport Mansukhlal Mandaviya said it was an important measure as it aimed to adapt to the technological upgradation emerging in road transport sector and curb corruption in the process.

Minister of State for Transport Mansukhlal Mandaviya moves The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, on July, 2018.

Minister of State for Transport Mansukhlal Mandaviya moves The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, on July, 2018.

Participating in the debate, BK Hari Prasad (Cong) said there were 92 clauses in the bill, out of which amendments have been brought to about 69 clauses and there is no mention of road safety in most of them.

“Only three clauses out of the 92 clauses refer to road safety. It looks like it (amendments) is done to help corporates,” he said, adding that the power for registration of vehicles has been given to private dealers in the bill.

Even the registration charges to be paid to the dealers would be higher than what the RTO charges, he said, and sought to know where would this money go.

Hari Prasad also objected to higher penalty, saying it would hurt the poor people as the police never slaps penalties on the rich.

“If you go through the bill, it does not create a sense of road safety. Some clauses have been amended to help the corporates and dilute the powers of state government,” he said.

The Congress leader, who was part of the select panel, said the government has “hardly” taken into account the committee’s recommendations.

“We have tried to convince the minister and the chairman of the panel. But we have failed,” he added.

Opposing the bill, Trinamool Congress member Manish Gupta said the proposed legislation in its current form “subverts the principle of federalism” by giving the control of the transport sector to the central government.

He said all the suggestions, which were given by the opposition parties during the standing committee meetings, have been rejected in the current bill.

“I appeal to all states which believe in federalism to oppose this bill,” Gupta said.

Similarly, BJD’s Pratap Keshari Deb said the bill favoured the Centre and, if passed in the current form, it would lead to clashes between central and state governments over various issues.

He said that BJD would support the bill if the government makes changes on various issues pointed out by them.

“It is up to the government. If they make changes, we will support, otherwise we will oppose it,” Deb said.

CPI-M’s Elamaram Kareem, while opposing the bill, said it supported privatisation and takes away powers from the state governments to regulate the sector.

Rajya Sabha

“This bill is against the people, against the country and I request the government to withdraw it at the earliest,” he added.

YSR Congress Party’s V Vijaysai Reddy said the legislation cannot be supported in its current form as it was silent on various important issues, including road rage.

TK Rangarajan (CPI-M) said after the implementation of such a legislation, the powers of the state government will be reduced. It will be like the power enjoyed by a gram panchayat, he said while opposing the bill.

TKS Elangovan (DMK) said the power of the states was being taken away and given to a private authority. “This is the biggest accident that has happened in the House and the states are still limping,” he said.

The only agenda of the BJP is to take away the power of the states, he said, terming it dangerous for the country.

BSP leader Veer Singh also said the legislation would lead to encroachment over powers of the states.

AAP member Sanjay Singh launched a frontal attack saying the provision to make the process of granting licenses was prone to misuse.

There have been reports that a license was issued in the name of the President or even Dawood Ibrahim, he said, adding this was when physical presence was necessary.

Since you have made it online, some people may even get a license issued in the name of their ‘Tommy’, he said referring to the name given to pets.

He said the Centre was trying to appropriate the power of collecting taxes. Why should states stand with begging bowls, Singh asked.

He said the present dispensation did not have a history of showing magnanimity. When Delhi metro lines to neighbouring Noida and areas in Haryana were inaugurated, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not even invited, the AAP MP said.

“Why such ill will,” he asked and said the legislation was in no way a step to curb accidents but the effort was to privatise everything.

Alleging that decisions, inspired by politics, were being taken, Singh said such was the state of affairs that the Prime Minister inaugurated “a 9 km long stretch of road”.

He said the AAP government had opposed the raising of metro fares but the Centre went ahead. Now the footfall has decreased and so have profits, he said, adding that the BJP- led government’s intent was to make transport expensive and loot the people.

Amar Shankar Sable and Vinay P Saharabuddhe of BJP and Harivansh of JD-U supported the bill.

(With inputs from PTI)