'Let states frame guidelines for cab aggregators'

Parliamentary panel tells Centre to relinquish power

'Let states frame guidelines for cab aggregators'

With app-based taxi services getting popular, a parliamentary panel has said that the states – not the Centre – should have the power to frame guidelines and control the operation of taxi aggregators in their territory.

The control of vehicles is the exclusive domain of state governments and the Centre should not take away their right, the parliamentary standing committee on transport and tourism said in its report on the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The suggestion by the panel headed by Mukul Roy came following the Ministry of Transport’s move to amend section 93 of the Motor Vehicle Act to provide statutory recognition to transport aggregators and prescribe provisions for issuing licences to web-based taxi operators.

As per the transport ministry’s proposal, while issuing licences to taxi aggregators, the state government should follow certain guidelines fixed by the Ministry of Road Transport.

Disapproving this proposal, the committee said, “Through this amendment, the balance of power between the Centre and the states has been tilted and the Central government will get preponderances of power to control the aggregators throughout India.”

“There is no need to take away the rights of the state governments with regard to control of transport vehicles,” the panel said.

It added that “every state government should have its own power and guidelines to control the operations of aggregators within the state”.

The committee also suggested that while encouraging aggregators, the government should take steps to protect the interests of small operators and local taxi drivers.

Several states had earlier apprehended that the Centre’s guidelines were intended to encourage the entry of aggregators and many car owners will become aggregate taxi owners, leading to an increase in personal transport for the affluent class, and cause congestion on the roads.

Commenting on the states’ worries, the road transport ministry said all modes of public transport should be promoted to reduce dependence on personal transport, in order to reduce congestion and pollution.

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