As the debate over the implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment), Act 2019 continues to rage, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari chipped in, defending the imposition of steep fines. He stated that there were 1,50,000 deaths due to accidents in India every year. Gadkari further elaborated that 65% of the people in this category were in the age group of 18 to 35. He stressed that the government wanted to save the lives of young people.
Gadkari mentioned that two to three lakh people were becoming handicapped, which was very bad for the country. He said that the life of such people gets completely disturbed. He maintained that it was up to the state government if they want to make a decision to reduce the fine amount. Gadkari reminded everyone that the subject was in the concurrent list.
‘’We don’t have any problem. Whatever fine revenue gets collected, it would go to the state government kitty. So, it is up to the state govt to decide. But my appeal is that these fines are not for increasing revenue. This is for saving the life of people. We have the highest accident casualty figures in the world. People don’t have respect for the recognition of the law. Now, 30 years before, the fine was Rs.100. After 30 years, what is the cost of Rs.100?’’ the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister questioned.
Gadkari admitted that the government did not want to charge a fine on the people. He emphasized on the fact that there was no problem for the people who obeyed the law. He revealed that there was a lot of change in the last 15 to 20 days. According to him, there was a lot of rush for getting licenses in the Regional Transport Office. Gadkari said that the people were mentally prepared for implementing the law. Focusing on the new system’s ability to save the lives of thousands of people, he opined that life was more important than money.
Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot agreed that it was people’s responsibility to follow the law. However, he commented that no one should have a problem in re-thinking measures which were not practical. He cited the example of the Gujarat government that disagreed with the Centre in this regard. Pilot reckoned that more awareness would help rather than increasing the quantum of fines.
By bringing in this legislation, the government has been accused of burdening the common man with heavy fines. The Act, which came into effect from September 1, aims at stricter punishments for traffic violations. It also seeks to bring discipline on the roads. States like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, and Telangana have not implemented the revised hefty fines until now.