Before giving its consent to removing the requirement of minimum educational qualification, the Road Transport and Highways ministry strongly emphasised that training and skill testing of driving licence seekers would be made mandatory to ensure that road safety is not compromised in any way.
With a view to improve “ease of getting a job”, the Narendra Modi government on Tuesday announced the removal of the minimum educational qualification required for obtaining a transport vehicle driving licence. Current regulation (Rule 8 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989) makes it mandatory for a transport vehicle driver to have passed class 8.
“In a move to benefit skilled persons from economically underprivileged sections of the society, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to remove the requirement of minimum educational qualification for driving a transport vehicle,” the Road Transport and Highways ministry said in a statement.
Sources in the ministry said that there is a shortage of nearly 22 lakh drivers in the transport and logistics sector in the country and removal of the requirement will open up employment opportunities for a large number of unemployed persons, especially the youth.
The ministry is also preparing a draft notification to initiate the process to amend Rule 8 of the Central Motor Vehicles Act 1989.
A senior ministry official said that the removal of the condition will help scores of rural and urban youth across the country who are literate and skilled but haven’t been part of the formal education system and were rendered ineligible for driving licences.
The ministry acted on feedback from the Government of Haryana. During a meeting in the transport ministry, the state government conveyed that youth and jobless from the backward Mewat region, especially in the Bahadurgarh area, were unable to secure a driving licence as they lacked formal education and that the population was “dependent for livelihood on low-income earning pursuits including driving”.
The Haryana government informed the ministry that the youth possessed the requisite skill to obtain a licence but didn’t have the required educational qualification.
Restriction to be removed with riders
Before giving its consent to removing the requirement of minimum educational qualification, the ministry strongly emphasised that training and skill testing of driving licence seekers would be made mandatory to ensure that road safety is not compromised in any way.
As per the draft notification that is being prepared, anyone applying for a driving license will have to mandatorily pass a stringent skill test. Prior to the skill test, the licence applicants would have to undergo training imparted by a school or establishment as laid down in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1989.
These institutions would have to ensure that the applicant can read signs and perform logistical duties such as maintenance of driver logs, inspection of trucks and trailers, submission of pre-trip and post-trip records, determination of discrepancies in the paperwork, effective communication to report safety hazards.
Moreover, schools and establishments which would be shortlisted for the exercise would have to provide vocational training and skilling facilities, which will be subject to regulatory control by the states. The idea is to create a training matrix which is high in quality and covers all aspects of driving a particular type of motor vehicle.
The removal of the requirement for educational qualification was part of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill that was passed by the 16th Lok Sabha after due scrutiny by the department related Standing Committee and Select Committee of the Parliament.
A ministry official said that while emphasis would be on job creation adequate stress would also be on competent driver’s training and stringent skill testing to ensure safety.
“The Supreme Court, in its judgment dated 3.7.2017 in Civil Appeal No. 5826 of 2011 – Mukund Dewagan Vs. Oriental Insurance Company Limited & Ors., in the matter of issue of driving licenses for light motor vehicles, had passed directions that the licence for transport vehicles would not arise in case of licence of the Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) class,” the official said.
The transport ministry estimates that the logistics sector, including goods and passenger movement, is likely to grow by over 20 per cent per annum. The radio cab and taxi businesses are expected to grow by 39 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.
“These sectors will need well-trained drivers who possess good skills. That’s why the emphasis is being changed to make jobs available for those who have to stay out due to restrictions created by the old rule,” said an official.
Date: November 25, 2019