We Need To Come Together To Reduce Road Accident Deaths: Nitin Gadkari At WEF
“We want to introduce transparency in the system. For example, it should be as simple as you apply for your driver’s licence online and you get it. You go get tested (at automated testing centres) and you get it,” said Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, speaking to NDTV’s Vikram Chandra at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Talking about demonetisation, economic growth rates, and road safety, he said that the Narendra Modi administration’s aim was to introduce transparency and simplify processes, dismantling the “inspector raj”.
This call for greater digitisation and automation is something that is reiterated in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill—a much-needed upgrade to the largely ineffective existing legislative framework on road safety which has been pending for nearly 6 months now. The Parliamentary Standing on Transport, Culture, and Tourism, which currently has the bill for review, is expected to meet on January 27 to make a decision about it.
While speaking at the NDTV Diageo Road Safety Conclave on January 14, Mr. Gadkari had said that the government was trying its best to push the bill through and if all went well at this meeting, he would introduce the bill on the floor of the house in the upcoming Budget Session.
“So many people die in road accidents around the world. I believe that we need to come together to get these numbers down. We should have qualitative politics rather than confrontational politics,” he said at Davos.
Taking about the unfortunate delay in the passage of the bill, Former Home Secretary GK Pillai had said, “In spite of the fact that there are so many road accident deaths recorded, the bill did not figure among the bills that were given top priority during the Parliament sessions last year.” He also rued the fact that the now shelved Road Safety and Transport had not been passed because it was not on an issue that “fetched any votes”.
Unified Registry and Greater Automation
The Amendment Bill has a provision which calls for the unification of the process of issuing and documenting licences and registrations, through the ministry’s Vahan (for vehicle registry) and Sarthi (for driving licenses) platforms. If passed, this is expected to go a long way in ending the practice of individuals holding multiple licences.
The Bill also instructs the government to introduce automated processes to test the fitness of motor vehicles to create safer roads. Completely computerised automated testing centres, which conduct and record tests without any human intervention, have already started coming up in different states. These run all kinds of tests including PUC (pollution under control) certification, speedometer calibration, brake adjustment, suspension testing and wheel alignment.
With inputs from PTI