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The Ministry took several initiatives in the transport sector during the year to make road travel more convenient for people. Some of these areas under-

Simplification of Driving License Application

To improve ease in licensing, this Ministry has simplified the driving license application form. Four forms i.e. (a) Learner License, (b) Driving License, (c) Renewal of License, and (d) updation of Address - all have been consolidated into one. The new form will enable Aadhar based verification of the applicant’s identity to provide online services for renewal, change of address etc. Another highlight of the new form is that it would capture an applicant’s willingness for organ donation.

Revision of Axle Weight:

The permissible safe axle weight of goods vehicles was revised and increased by about 15% to 20 % for different configurations of axles. The decision was taken with a view to help in increasing the carrying capacity of goods transport vehicles and bring down logistics cost. The amendment will increase the carrying capacity of goods vehicles by about 20-25 % and lower logistics costs by about 2%. It will also bring down the incidence of overloading. While automobile technology and road construction quality have improved greatly over the years, the axle loads have remained the same since 1983 when they were last notified. There was a felt need to harmonize the axle load with international standards.

Launch of Ranking System for Toll Plazas

NHAI has developed a matrix-based methodology to rank the Fee Plazas on parameters such as electronic tolling, time taken in clearance of FASTag lanes, display panels, staff behaviour, cleanliness, etc. The data for the matrix is to be collected by the Regional Officers who will use the same to rank the Fee Plazas under their jurisdiction. Meanwhile, a countrywide drive was launched by NHAl on more than 300 toll plazas across the country on 10 February, 2018, to address issues that affect highway users. Officers visited toll plazas and addressed issues of user convenience and took feedback from the people.

Revision in Maximum Speed of vehicles

The Ministry has revised the maximum speed of various classes of vehicles vide notification dated 6th April 2018. The notification prescribes the speed of various classes of vehicles. Thus a passenger vehicle with not more than 8 seats including driver can have a maximum speed of 120 km/hr on expressways and 70km/hr on municipal roads.

Acceptance of Documents through DigiLocker and mParivahan Platform

An advisory has been issued by the Ministry to all the States / UTs to accept the documents in electronic form through DigiLocker platform of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India and the mParivahan mobile app of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. Such electronic records available on DigiLocker or mParivahanare deemed to be legally recognized at par with the original documents as per the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This will also address Grievances / RTI applications of the citizens and facilitate promotion of Digital India campaign.

Notification regarding Vehicle Location Tracking Device and Emergency Button in all public service vehicles

With a view to enhancing the safety of women passengers, detailed standards for Installation of Vehicle Location Tracking Device (VLT) and Emergency Button on public service vehicles have been notified on October 25, 2018. The States/ UTs have been mandated to ensure compliance of the rule and check fitment and functional status of the VLT device in the public service vehicles at the time of checking of the vehicles for fitness certification. The Command and Control Centres in the States will be used to provide interface to various stakeholders such as State emergency response centre, the Transport authorities of the state and central governments, device manufacturers and their authorized dealers, testing agencies etc. The Command and control Centre will also be able to provide feed to the VAHAN database or the relevant data base of the state with regard to over speeding and the health status of the device.

Fitness Certificate in respect of Transport Vehicle

As per this notification the renewal of the fitness certificate in respect of transport vehicle up to eight years old shall be done for two years and for one year for vehicle older than eight years. No fitness certification shall be required at the time of registration for the new transport vehicle sold as fully built vehicle and such vehicle shall be deemed to be having certificate of fitness for a period of two years from the date of registration.

Use of Dual Fuel

The Ministry has issued a notification for Dual fuel usage which covers Emission of smoke and vapour from agriculture tractors, power tillers, construction equipment vehicles and combine harvesters driven by dual fuel diesel with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Bio-Compressed Natural Gas (Bio-CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) engines.

Electric, Ethanol and Methanol Vehicles exempted from Permit  

Keeping in view the need for promoting electric mobility and alternate fuels, the Ministry, vide notification issued on October 18, 2018, has exempted Battery Operated Vehicles, as well as vehicles driven on Methanol fuel or Ethanol fuel, from the requirement of permit for carrying passengers or goods.

Advisory on Linking of PUC data (emission related data) with the VAHAN database

A system has been developed and tested by this Ministry for linking of Pollution Under Control (PUC) data with the VAHAN database. An advisory dated October 1, 2018 has been issued to all the States by the Ministry wherein all the PUC vendors have been directed to comply with the guidelines and facilitate electronic uploading of emissions test data to VAHAN database.

Notification regarding Registration Mark of Battery Operated Vehicles

To give a distinct identity to the electric vehicles, it has been decided that the registration mark will be exhibited on a number plate with Green background. A notification to this effect was issued on 7th August, 2018.

M 15 (15%) Methanol blending with Gasoline

The Ministry issued a notification regarding the blending of Gasoline with methanol in order to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions and also to reduce the import burden on account of crudepetroleum fromwhichgasolineis produced.The Hon’ble Prime Minister had announced an ambitious target of reducing 10% import dependence of oil and gas by 2022 from 2014-15 levels. Methanol can be used as an alternative transportation fuel thereby reducing Import dependence to some extent.

Requirement of PUC Certificate for vehicle insurance/ renewal of insurance

The Ministry has requested IRDA and the MDs / Chairpersons of all general insurance companies on to ensure that no third-party insurance policy is issued or renewed without ascertaining the availability of a valid PUC. This has been done following orders of the Supreme Court of India.

Emission Standards for Construction Equipment Vehicles and Tractors

The Ministry has notified emission standards for Construction Equipment Vehicles and Tractors. These standards would be implemented w.e.f. 1st October, 2020 (Trem IV) and from 1st April, 2024 [Bharat Stage (CEV/Trem)-V]. This would help in ensuring environment friendly construction / mining activities.

Quadricycles included as Non-Transport Vehicles

The Ministry notified the insertion of the item ‘Quadricycle’ as a ‘non-transport’ vehicle under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. A Quadricycle is a vehicle of the size of a 3-wheeler but with 4tyres and fully covered like a car. It has an engine like that of a 3-wheeler. This makes it a cheap and safe mode of transport for last mile connectivity. Quadricycleswere only allowed for transport usage under the Act, but now has been made usable for non-transport also.