Citing the shortage of drivers in India, the government is working to set up Driver Training Centres in tribal areas and in the 115 poorest districts in the country.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that those from economically and socially backward classes can benefit from this programme as India has a shortage of around 22 lakh drivers.
“We want to open driving training centres, particularly in the tribal area. The people who are educationally, socially and economically backward, will be benefitted from it. In agriculture, tribal and in the 115 aspirational districts, we need to start more driving training centres,” Gadkari said at a webinar organised by the Swedish Embassy and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) on Wednesday.
Gadkari also said that the National Road Safety Board has been cleared by the Law Ministry and the ministry will appoint persons on the Board soon.
Gadkari further said that in India, accidents also happen because drivers are fatigued as there are too few drivers. “Often the conductor (helper) of the truck, after watching the driver drive for some time thinks he can also drive, and then becomes a driver. For that reason we need more driving training centres,” he said.
The Centre assists private players in public-private partnership mode to set up driving training centres under an existing scheme in districts. According to official data, around 84 per cent of road accidents take place due to faults of drivers. “The number of accident cases involving drivers without a valid driving licence in the calendar year 2017 is 48,503 (around 10% of total accidents),” ministry data show.
A Driving Training Centre is a skill development facility comprising of physical infrastructure requiring capital expenditure for creation and development of necessary infrastructure. One-time assistance to the extent of 50 per cent of the project cost, up to Rs 1 crore, is extended for setting up of Driving Training Centre.
While the Ministry and Road Transport and Highways has not carried out any study on the shortage of drivers in India, various other transport organisations have time and again highlighted the issue.
Gadkari also said that corporates and especially vehicle manufacturing companies should come forward to set up such centres in the interest of road safety.
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