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Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016: Key Provisions

The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by a voice vote to give more thrust to road safety, controlling pollution and accidents.

The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that provides for legal standards for motor vehicles, grant of driving licenses, and penalties for violation of these provisions.

Key Provisions

  • National Transportation Policy: Union government must frame National Transportation Policy, in consultation with the states.
  • Recall of vehicles: It empowers Union government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defects in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF): Mandatory for Union government to constitute Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • MVAF will be credited with cess or tax as approved by Union government, grant or loan made by Union government or any other source prescribed by Union government.
  • Care for road accident victims: Union government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.
  • It defines golden hour as the time period of up to an hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • Compensation for death: It increases the compensation for death in a hit and run case from to Rs two lakh or more from Rs 25,000, as prescribed by the Union government.
  • Protection of good samaritans: It defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at scene of an accident in good faith, voluntary and without the expectation of any reward.
  • Good samaritans will not be held liable for any criminal or civil action for any injury to or death of an accident victim. Union government may frame rules to provide for procedures for their questioning or disclosure of personal information.
  • Aggregator services: It defines an aggregator as a digital intermediary or market place and their services may be used by a passenger to connect with a driver for transportation purposes.
  • It makes mandatory for these aggregators to obtain licenses and comply with the Information Technology Act (IT), 2000.
  • Electronic services: The Bill provides for the computerization of certain services to improve delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance.
  • It enables (i) online learning licenses, (ii) increases period of driving licenses validity, (iii) Do away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses etc.
  • It also proposes Aadhar based verification for grant of online services including learner’s licence to ensure the integrity of the online services and stop creation of duplicate licences.
  • Offences and penalties: It increases the penalties for several offences under the parent Act for high risk offences like drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading, non-adherence to safety norms by drivers.
  • Offences committed Juveniles: The owner or guardian will be deemed guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles. Juvenile will be tried under JJ Act and the registration of Motor Vehicle will be cancelled.

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Government to wind up 8 tribunals

The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to The Finance Bill, 2017 proposed by the Union Government to wind up eight tribunals

These eight tribunals currently exclusively deal with disputes pertaining to employees’ provident fund (EPF), Competition law, Airports economic regulation, IT law, National highways, railways, copyrights and Forex.

The amendments in the Finance Bill of 2017 also has proposed changes in the norms for tribunals, appellate tribunals and other boards associated with the administration of 17 central laws.

8 major tribunals that will cease to operate are
  • Competition Appellate Tribunal: Its work now has will be transferred to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
  • Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal (AERAAT) and Cyber Appellate Tribunal: Their functions will now be discharged by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
  • EPF Appellate Tribunal: Its works will be transferred to the Industrial Tribunal that examines matters under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947.
  • Cases under the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999: They will be transferred to Appellate Tribunal constituted under Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976.
  • National Highways Tribunal: Now Highway disputes will now be adjudicated by the Airport Appellate Tribunal set up under the Airport Authority of India (AAI) Act,1994.
  • Railways Rates Tribunal: It was established for hearing matters under the Railways Act, 1989. Its workload will be transferred to the Railway Claims Tribunal.
  • Copyright Board: It was responsible for enforcing of the Copyright Act of 1957. Now it will be transferred to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board set up under the Trademarks Act of 1999.

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Union Cabinet approves amendments to Customs and Excise Act to facilitate GST Regime

The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Customs and Excise Acts related to abolition of cesses and surcharges on various goods and services to facilitate implementation of GST Regime

Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. It has approved the following proposals:

  • Amendment to Customs Act, 1962;
  • Amendment to Central Excise Act, 1944.
  • Amendments to Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
  • Repeal of Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 and
  • Amendment/repeal of the provisions relating to Acts under which cesses are levied.
Comment
  • The amendments in Customs Act, 1962 will allow furnishing of information relating to import or export of goods by specified persons to enable analysis and detection of cases of under or over-valuation in imports and exports.
  • It also aims to check misuse of export promotion schemes, including Drawback Scheme and violations of provisions of Customs Act and various other laws which Customs officials have been authorised to implement.
  • The amendments or repealing of various provisions of other Acts which in the GST regime will result in cleansing of the irrelevant portions from the Statute Book and reduce multiplicity of taxes.

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