Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Current Affairs

Government issues draft amendments to Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989

Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued draft amendments to Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, making Vehicle Tracking System device and FASTags mandatory for all commercial vehicles obtaining national permit.

Proposed amendments

FASTags: It makes mandatory for vehicles to affix sticker confirming fitting of the Fastag in front wind screen of vehicles.

National Permit (N/P): It stipulates additional conditions for obtaining national permit. It also includes display of words ‘National Permit or N/P’ in front and rear of vehicles in bold letters. N/P will have to be inscribed on rear and left side incase of trailers.

Tanker carrying dangerous or hazardous goods: Its body has to be painted in white colour and display prescribed class label on both sides and rear of tanker. It should be also affixed with reflective tapes at front and rear.

Fitness certification: It will be not required at time of registration of new transport vehicles sold as fully built vehicles. Such vehicles will be deemed to be having certificate of fitness for a period of two years from the date of registration. Fitness certificate of transport vehicles will be renewed for period of two years for vehicles up to eight years old and for one year for vehicles older than eight years.

Digital Certificates: Henceforth, pollution under control certificates and driving license can be carried in physical or digital form.

Goods carrying vehicles: They will be required to carry goods in closed body of the vehicle or container. In case it is necessary to carry goods in open bodies, then goods will be covered by using tarpaulin or any other suitable material.  Goods of indivisible nature, not capable of being carried in a closed body or being covered, may be carried without cover.

Load Carrying Capacity: The gross vehicle weight (GVW) for two-axle truck (two wheels in front axle and four wheels in the rear) has been raised from 16.2 tonnes to 18.5 tonnes, for three-axle trucks it has been increased from 25 tonnes to 28.5 tonnes; and for five-axle trucks from 37 tonnes to 43.5 tonnes. This will help reduce transportation (logistic) cost and consequently, commodity prices. Overloading is very rampant which will be stopped to an extent along with corruption.

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Government approves green licence plates for private electric vehicles

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis to promote electric vehicles (e-vehicles) in India. The purpose behind distinctive green number plates is easy identification of electric vehicles for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll.

Need

As per estimate, India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles. It is projected to grow to about 5% of total vehicles in next five years. Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, e-vehicles accounted for barely about 1%. Government has undertaken various measure aimed at promoting e-vehicle’s use and government is considering exemption from permits for such vehicles.

Other Proposals

Besides, MoRTH is also contemplating permitting youth in age group of 16-18 years to drive e-scooters, which are gearless and this will lead to a big demand for e-scooters. Currently, under the Motor Vheicles Act, 1988, those in the age group of 16-18 years are granted licence for below 50 CC gearless scooters.

It is also contemplating to ask taxi aggregators to have incremental share of e-vehicles from 2020 onwards, which could be 1% of the fleet every year. Similarly, all public transport operators are also mandated to provide 1% incremental fleet from 2020 onwards.

It is also going to request Union Finance Ministry for 50% rate of depreciation on EVs as against the rate of 15% for conventional vehicles. The proposals also include bringing down GST on batteries to 12% at par with the GST on EVs.

Number Plate regime in India

Currently, there are four kinds of number plates in India- white licence plates with numbers on black font for private cars, yellow plates with fonts in black for commercial vehicles, black plates with yellow font letters for self-driven rental vehicles and blue plates with white font letters for Embassies and High Commissions. Official vehicles of President and governors have red licence plates with the national emblem. Army vehicles follow different registration system given by Defence Ministry.

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