The center has finally relented when it comes to the outcry on the attack on federalism. The Parliament finally approved the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by incorporating most of the suggestions that were made by the standing committee. Among the many things that the Union minister of transport Nitin Gadkari agreed to change in the Motor Vehicles Act was the contentious suggestion, wherein the center would be the final arbiter of decisions on the issue of cab aggregators. By a simple change of a single term, the center had snatched the power of decision making from the state bodies and brought it under its own purview.
In the clause 34, Section 2, subsection 2; “Provided that while issuing the licence to an aggregator the State Government shall follow such guidelines as may be issued by the Central Government:”
Simply speaking, the word ‘shall’ instead of ‘may’ makes it mandatory for all state governments to follow the guidelines issued by the central government , a single change of word that changes the whole contour of the game. With this dual swoop, the centre assumes the power for the cab industry, the local governments or bodies will no longer have any say on the same and the aggregators get the most favourable regulations across the country.
Relenting on the outcry on the issue, the union minister of transport, has left it to the States to deal with cab aggregators. While aggregators like Ola and Uber have been maintaining that they come under the ambit of the Information Technology Act, they now have to follow the guidelines and penalties of the Motor Vehicles Act. Speaking in Parliament, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari asked States to strike a balance between saving employees of State road transport undertakings, many of which are bleeding, and providing good services to the population.
This would constitute as a big victory for the various stakeholders in the taxi industry that have been demanding a uniform application of law for all. The cab aggregators companies like Ola and Uber will now have to function under the purview of the state bodies, that wish to control the fares or the prices.
Among all the other aspects, including e-governance, safety, penalty, etc. the step down by the government on this issue is a welcome one, and we will now wait to see how the whole scenario pans out in the future.