After failing to get it through Rajya Sabha in the previous term, the Modi government is set to reintroduce the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill in Parliament, possibly in the ensuing session.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is learnt to have signed the Cabinet proposal seeking approval of the reintroduction and it might be taken up in the next Cabinet meeting.
The previous Modi government did not enjoy a majority in the Rajya Sabha. As a result, the Bill, which proposed stricter punishment for traffic violations, sought to simplify vehicle registration processes and overhaul the traffic and transport regulatory framework in India with a view to minimise road accidents, could not be passed in Rajya Sabha eventhough it was passed in the Lok Sabha. Several opposition parties, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPM, DMK, had claimed the Bill sought to impinge upon states’ powers and was not federal in nature. It was referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, much of whose recommendations were also later incorporated in the Bill. The original Bill was drafted after consulting with a committee of Transport Ministers of states.
On his first day after taking charge of the ministry on Tuesday, Gadkari reviewed various works. He is learnt to have suggested that the ministry tries to find a way to intervene in what is viewed as “cartel pricing” by the cement manufacturers in the country. The Competition Commission of India had in 2012 slapped a penalty of Rs 6,317 crore on 10 cement manufacturers and the Cement Manufacturers Association. The ruling was stayed by the Supreme Court in October last year. The ministry had been reiterating that cement prices varied unreasonably across India and that it increased over the years without significant reasons. Gadkari had even told the Parliament that the government was deliberating breaking the “cartel” by enlisting cement as an essential commodity.