New Delhi, Mar 11: Parliament today gave nod to a Bill seeking to pave the way for plying of e-rickshaws on the roads of the national capital region, with the government considering a proposal to provide credit to buy these battery- operated vehicles.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to amend the 1988 Act by a voice vote. The measure was adopted by the Lok Sabha on March 3.
Replying to the debate on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said not only would the poor benefit from it but it would give a boost to 'Make in India' initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the battery-operated vehicle was now being manufactured indigenously.
The vehicle, which was at one point being shipped in from China, would not be imported any longer as a "Pune-based company is now manufacturing the vehicles. It will be made in India as part of the 'Make in India' initiative."
On the issue of providing credit to buy e-rickshaws, Gadkari said he had approached the Finance Minister and Prime Minister and "I hope they will consider this issue."
"It is a fact that man pulling man is inhuman. Nearly one crore people are doing this. This should come to a stop," he said, adding that one crore poor people would be benefitted by the move.
Maintaining that the government wanted e-rickshaws to be owned by drivers, he said, "women and physically challenged people will also be given license. ... Driving licence has been made a compulsory requirement. A permanent license would be given after a year of learning."
The Minister said it was being debated that whether a 8th standard passed person would be eligible for a license. "If not, what happens? This condition has to be thought about on a sympathetic ground," he said.
E-rickshaws or battery-operated three-wheeler vehicles had gone off roads after Delhi high court had banned their plying in July last year on safety concerns.
On January 7, President Pranab Mukherjee had promulgated an Ordinance as the bill to regularise e-rickshaws, passed by the Lok Sabha on December 18, had got stuck in Rajya Sabha.
The government in October last had notified the rules for plying of e-rickshaws, making driver's licence mandatory for operating them and limiting their maximum speed to 25 kmph.