Union Minister of  Road Transport and Highways Current Affairs - 2020

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari has stated that the Central Government expects a 20 per cent decline in road accidents from the current five lakh a year and Parliament’s nod to pending legislation Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill will also help curb the accidents.

Features of the Bill

The features of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 are:

  • The bill seeks to redress the difficulties faced in obtaining driving licenses without the help of touts by taking the process online. Tests for driving licences will be automated, and learner’s licences will be issued online.
  • The bill provides for an increase of fines for breaking road rules.
  • The new law states that driving licence issued to a person under the age of 30 is valid till the person turns 40. For those who receive licences between the ages of 30 and 50, the licence will remain valid for 10 years. If the licence is issued between 50 and 55 years, it will be valid until the person turns 60, and above 55 years, licences will carry a five-year validity.
  • The bill defines aggregators as a digital intermediary or market place for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation and makes it optional for the states to follow central guidelines related to the aggregators.
  • The bill leaves the regulation of aggregators should be left to states.
  • The bill also removes the cap on payments to be made under third-party insurance proposed in the 2016 bill.
  • The bill provides for the recall of vehicles if the defective vehicle is a danger to the environment, the driver or other road users. The manufacturer would be required to reimburse all buyers with the full cost of the vehicle, replace the defective vehicle, and if necessary pay a fine as specified by the government.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Methanol Blending to cut Carbon-di-oxide Emissions

Biofuels are being considered an alternative to reduce the country’s crude oil imports worth Rs7 lakh crore. They can also be a potential weapon to fight increasing pollution. The findings of the research by the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) have substantiated the potential reduction in the emissions of the carbon-di-oxide by the adoption of methanol blending.

Research by the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)

Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) conducted a study using 15% M-15 methanol blend in vehicles and tested them for 3,000km to evaluate emissions in real-world conditions as well as check the performance of the vehicles.

The outcomes of the study showed that methanol blending with petrol in the existing BS-IV standard cars resulted in the reduction of the carbon-di-oxide emissions substantially.

The study also found that hydrocarbon emission reduced marginally, with a slight increase in the levels of nitrogen oxides.

The findings of the research were submitted to Union Minister of  Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari. The Minister assured full support for ARAI in furthering the methanol blending programme, reiterating the government’s commitment to increase the methanol blending to 20% by the year 2030.