The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law to substantially increase penalty for traffic violations such as juvenile driving, over-speeding and drunken driving so as to improve road safety.
Under the proposed Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill of 2016, driving without licence will attract a minimum fine of Rs. 5,000, up from Rs. 500 at present. For over-speeding, a penalty of Rs.1,000-Rs. 2,000 is proposed, up from Rs. 400. Not wearing seatbelts would result in a minimum penalty of Rs. 1,000 against Rs.100 at present. For two-wheeler riders, not wearing helmet would mean a fine of Rs. 1,000, up from Rs. 100, and would also lead to suspension of the licence for three months.
For juvenile crimes, the guardian or owner of the vehicle will be deemed guilty with a hefty fine of Rs. 25,000, along with three years of imprisonment. The registration of the vehicle will also be cancelled.
The penalty for driving without vehicle insurance is proposed to be increased to Rs. 2,000 from Rs.1,000. The government has proposed inserting a new provision in the law for levying a penalty of Rs. 10,000 on people not allowing way for emergency vehicles.
“Every year, five lakh road accidents are reported in the country, in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives. The government is committed to reducing the accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent in five years,” the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry said in a statement.
The proposed law also increases the compensation in hit-and-run cases from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 lakh. Other provisions proposed include online learning licences, increasing the validity period for driving licences, doing away with the requirements of educational qualification for transport licences.
Monetisation of highway projects
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a plan to allow the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to monetise around 75 completed highway projects in a bid to raise money for other highway projects. “Monetization of public-funded NH roads is expected to create a framework for attracting long-term institutional investment on the strength of future toll receivables,” the Ministry said, “Market feedback indicates that certain institutional investors from outside the country have a long-term investment appetite and are keen on participating in operational highway projects with a stable toll revenue outlook.”
Under the proposed Toll-Operate-Transfer bidding, only toll collection rights will be transferred for a specific period to successful concessionaire “in lieu of a lump-sum upfront fee.”
The NH projects that are operational and that have been generating toll revenues for at least two years will be monetised. “The funds generated shall be utilised for development of highways, which would benefit highway-users throughout the country,” the Ministry said.
Source: The Hindu