Automated vehicle fitness testing stations to be set up by October 2018

As per the present Central Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, transport vehicles must go through an annual vehicle fitness test at the RTO where they are registered. This is done to ensure that the vehicles are road-worthy as they tend to go through a lot of abuse year on year. However at the moment, the tests are arbitrary and corruption is rampant. The central government is pushing the state governments to set up automated vehicle fitness testing stations to ensure they are objective and weed out corruption.

In a statement, S.P. Singh, a senior fellow at the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) said “The present fitness testing for transport vehicles (trucks/buses/vans) carried out under the CMVR-1989 as per the Motor Vehicles Act,1988 is overwhelming and subject to cursory annual exercise undertaken by State Transport Departments/ RTOs, thereby mostly, allowing even vehicles not conforming to requisition tests and thus leads to corruption.”

However, the state have expressed their inability to meet the deadline and are looking to push the date further forward, as per the house panel report submitted to the parliament on February 8. Singh also added that there seems to be some hidden intent of some states because automation will take away human interface with motor vehicle inspectors in testing procedure and stop easy money.

While the situation for transport vehicles looks like that it will improve in the future, there is no such act which makes it mandatory for the non-transport vehicles to go through the same sort of testing at all. “While transport vehicles are mandated to undergo roadworthiness fitness tests for the sake of road safety and checking vehicular air pollution, non-transport vehicles too should be checked for which the current Indian laws do not even have an enabling provision,” said SP Singh.

While IFTRT wants to set up and implement the vehicle fitness test vehicle scrappage, it also wants the government to make the periodical road-worthiness fitness test through digital tools with the help of automobile manufacturers and their authorised retail service network.

Even the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 has proposed an amendment of Section 52(2) of the principal Act 1988 where the owner can put the vehicle on test in one of the testing stations of his choice to check is his / her vehicle checks all the boxes of fitness standards. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has asked the Centre to take states into confidence to implement this procedure rather than insisting on setting up of authorised testing stations by October 2018.

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