First Meeting of Group of Ministers for Improving Road Safety and Ease of Transport on Friday
The Group of Ministers constituted by the Central Government to guide reforms for the road transport sector will hold its first meeting in New Delhi on Friday. The GoM,headed by Shri Yunus Khan, Minister for Transport, Rajasthan and comprising State Transport Ministers, seeks to find solutions to the various problems plaguing the road transport sector in the country so as to improve road safety and facilitate ease of transport.
India is facing severe problems in terms of deteriorating road safety. The number of fatalities has been increasing steadily and stands provisionally at 1,46,000 deaths in the year 2015. As a signatory to Brasilia Declaration, India is committed to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50% by 2020. The road transport sector also plays a major role in the economy of the country, bearing 75 % of the total load of passenger and freight transportation. Its share in the country's GDP is close to 4.5%.
The sector however suffers from archaic rules and practices and needs urgent reforms to support the high growth rates of Indian economy. The Road Transport and Safety Bill was brought by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to strengthen road safety as well as improve ease of transport across the country. Discussions have to be held with all state governments to remove any apprehensions or misgivings they may have. In order to ensure road safety and improve customer satisfaction there is an urgent need to make administrative changes, amend the Motor Vehicles Act and make optimal use of technology to cut down delays.
The GoM aims to develop a road map for achieving the above deliverables. A preparatory meeting of Principle Secretaries of Transport of States and Transport Commissioners was held in New Delhi on 22" April, 2016, to crystallize the agenda points for the meeting of the Group of Ministers to be held tomorrow. Among other issues the focus points for deliberations tomorrow are likely to be how to deal with non- motorized transport on roads like pedestrians and cyclists or non road vehicles plying on public places; testing for issue of Driving License which would include discussion on having unified driving license, use of automation, mandatory driver training, rationalization of categories and periodicity for license renewal.
Grant of fitness for transport vehicles is another subject on the agenda and would include issues like reviewing periodicity of vehicle fitness in view of better technology, introduction of automation in vehicle fitness, third party fitness testing by dealers or other authorized service stations. Deliberations will also be held on framing rules of road regulations and increase in penalties for traffic violations, with a part of the penalty collected going into improvement of traffic management. For enhancing customer experience discussions will be held on simplification of forms and linking with Aadhar for bio-metric verification, making forms online, inclusion of accidental insurance cover for commercial drivers in third party insurance scheme and also removing provisions regarding dress code for drivers.