Why bus, auto unions are protesting, call for bandh on April 30: Explained

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Bengaluru, April 28: All India Road Transport Workers' (AIRTW) Federations called for a nation-wide bandh on Thursday, April 30. The bandh has been called to protest against proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014.

Supporting the cause, workers of public transport corporations and private buses, auto-rickshaw, taxi, mini bus, lorries and trucks, driving school, auto-workshops and spare part shops, school and college bus will also join the protesters on Thursday.

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Bus strike

Who all are joining the bandh?

Around 7.5 lakh workers are protesting against the bill which they claim will provide 'unfair advantages' to private bus operators.

AIRTW is affiliated to CITU, AITUC, INTUC, BMS, HMS, AICCTU and independent state unions, LPF (Tamil Nadu), UP Roadways Karmachari Samyukt Parishad, Gujarat State Transport Workers Federation, NLO and Uttarakhand Roadways Karmachari Samyukt Parishad.

Auto unions too will join the protest. Autos will not ply in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and in other metro cities. Drivers from Nagaland too will join the protest.

What is Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014?

  • BJP-led NDA government introduced the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014
  • Government introduced the bill following the death of Union Minister Gopinath Munde
  • Munde died during a road accident in Delhi in 2014
  • The parliamentary standing committee in 2012 had rejected the same Bill.
  • The Bill will strengthen the way of Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority
  • It will help the authority to issue minimum safety standards for vehicles, roads and its users
  • Authority will maintain a National Unified Information System
  • New system will have details of vehicle registrations, driving licences, insurance, permits, penalties, accidents, etc.
  • The Bill will put an end to old practice of holding more than one driving licence
  • People will have only one license following a Unified Driving Licensing System as well as Automated Driving Licence tests
  • The bill proposes a points-based system for recording traffic violations for each licence holder
  • Penalty points for a driver will be displayed on his/her record for three years
  • A total of 12 points would lead to the suspension of licence for one year
  • This is over and above the fines and jail terms defined under the act.

Why Bus, auto unions are protesting against the Bill?

  • According to AIRTW, millions of driver, conductors and other workers will lose their employment if the provisions of the Bill is implemented
  • All road transport undertakings will be closed
  • The protections available under the existing Motor Vehicles Act will be withdrawn if the bill is passed
  • The registration of Motor Vehicles, issuance of Fitness Certificate and Driving License will be outsourced to private parties
  • Protesters believe that the state governments will lose their power regarding transport sector
  • The Central government may take over the entire core transport sector, claimed protesters
  • Protesters believe that the central govt may privatise the entire system by handing over to corporate
  • The issue of fitness certificates and driving licences is also a major point of contention

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