Telangana road transport authorities not keen on implementing Centre’s new driver’s licence rules
Telangana's road transport authorities remain reluctant to adopt the Union Ministry's new rules that include the provision of obtaining a driving license without appearing for a driving test.
HYDERABAD: It has been a month since the new rules of the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) came into effect (July 1), which include the provision of ‘license without driving test’. But the State authorities remain reluctant to adopt the rules, despite having regular, high-level deliberations on the issue at the Transport Commissioner’s office. As per the notified rules for ‘license without driving test’ (at RTO office), an individual should undergo training at an Accredited Driver Training Centre (ADTC).
The licence can be obtained through the certificate issued by the ADTC. “Shortage of skilled drivers is one of the major issues that the Indian roadways sector faces and a large number of road accidents occur due to lack of knowledge of road regulations. Section 8 of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 empowers the Central government to make rules regarding accreditation of Driver Training Centers,” the notification says. These centres will be equipped with simulators and dedicated driving test tracks (1-2 acres space).
In Hyderabad, however, only a handful that provide training for heavy vehicles have enough room at present. Nevertheless, nobody has approached local authorities for licences, citing this rule. This has triggered a debate on whether the Centre’s step aims at an eventual ‘privatisation’ of the RTA or not, because in the coming months, ‘automated testing facilities’ by private firms will also be permitted. RTA officials said that despite representations to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari earlier by national-level associations, the Ministry was slowly making way for private players.
Officials said that the new rules undermined the existing mechanism and it indicated a clear shift towards privatisation, where a State authority would be replaced by private entities. The latest rules have disturbed the officials, who otherwise had complete authority over issuing licence. “From October 2021, we have to adopt another proposal on automated fitness testing stations, whose notification has already been issued. Right now, we are issuing the certificates manually. Slowly, the statutory functions of the department would go to private players. We are not against development, but all functions should rest with the department,” said an official.