In an effort to help government-run transport entities, the Karnataka State Transport Authority (KSTU) has come out with a Comprehensive Area Scheme (CSA) for the entire state that bans new permits to private bus operators.
- This will help KSRTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC to ply umpteen buses on any route
- The move will help state transport undertakings, including the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), get an exclusive right to ply as many buses as they wish on as many routes as possible.
- The decision to introduce the CSA is aimed at skirting the draft Road Transport Safety Bill, 2015, which provides for auctioning of routes to the highest bidder.
- Once the CSA comes into force, state-run transport utilities will have monopoly before the enactment of the bill.
- The draft bill states that even state transport undertakings must compete with private bus operators to get a route permit from the KSTU.
- Why this move: Private operators have a strong lobby. It’s very difficult for the KSRTC, the NEKRTC and the NWKRTC to compete with them. Section 343 (Repeal and Savings) of the proposed bill says that permits cannot be auctioned if the area is nationalised. Keeping this in mind, the government is introducing the CAS. When there are no routes available, there is no question of auction. It kills the competition and helps the KSRT
- This decision has been taken to provide bus services to people in villages and save the public transport utilities. Only state-owned operators run buses on obligatory routes without taking profit into consideration.
- Private operators protest : Expectedly, the move has triggered resentment among private operators who see it as an attempt to curb them in the name of law. They want the government to provide a level-playing field so that they can also serve the public.
- The Transport Department has invited objections from the stakeholders to the draft notification on nationalisation of area (Comprehensive Area Scheme) issued on June 10.
As per the draft notification, no fresh permits will be issued to private operators, though existing legal, valid permits in operation with private stage and contract carriages will be allowed to operate. Government-run transport undertakings of other states are also eligible to ply in Karnataka.
- The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) operates under the area scheme. Once the city is brought under the area scheme, no private operator can operate under the fresh stage carriage permit. Hassan and some districts in North Karnataka also fall under the area scheme where no fresh stage carriage permits are issued to private operators.
About Road Transport and Safety Bill:
- It is a Bill which aims to provide a framework for safer, faster, cost effective and inclusive movement of passengers and freight in the country thus enabling the mission of ‘Make in India’.
- It aims to save 2 lakhs lives in first 5 years due to reduction in road traffic accident deaths.
- It also aims to improve GDP by 4% on account of increased efficiency and safety of road transport sector.
- 10 lac Jobs will be created with increase in investment in the sector.
Salient Feature of the Bill:
The new Bill makes significant departures from the 1988 Motor Vehicle Act as it includes safety in construction, design, maintenance and use of motor vehicles and roads as a major component.
- Provides for more stringent penalties to offenders. A graded penalty point system would now act as a deterrent and improve traffic condition whereas electronic detection and centralized information of offences would facilitate to identify repeat-offenders.
- Proposes to introduce an independent agency called the National Road Safety Authority of India, which will be an independent, legally empowered and accountable expert lead agency. It shall be accountable to the Parliament and Central Government.
- The establishment of State Safety Authorities which shall act in accordance with the directions issued by the National Authority.
- A unified driver licensing system in India which will be transparent. Such a system shall facilitate any time anywhere licence application mechanism in the country and mitigate duplication of licences from various regional transport offices.
- There will be a unified vehicle registration system to enable electronic and online submission of applications for registration at any registering authority leading to real time interchange of data relating to such an activity.
- Safety issues: Envisages for enforcement of modern safety technologies.
- Creation of a motor vehicle accident fund for immediate relief to the accident victim. It gives special emphasis on safety of school children and security of women.
- The setting up of a Highway Traffic Regulation and Protection Force (HTRPF).