The new Motor Vehicle (MV) Act, 2019, has turned out to be the most hated act among people, transport unions and even state governments. While the Act came into force on September 1, so far, only five states Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Karnataka and Assam are implementing the Act, that too, after expressing dissent and with reduced fines.
On the point of reducing the hefty penalties, it has been reported that states have earlier sought
legal opinion from Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on the powers of state government to defer enforcement of the central legislation. Following this, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) have stated that the state governments could impose their own penalties. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Gujarat government had made an announcement with reduced penalties even before the Centre gave its clarification in this regard.
Almost all the trade unions have protested against the law since 2014. In fact, as soon as the law was passed in the last Parliament session, trade unions including Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) and associations have strongly condemned it in their August 2 country-wide protests.
As predicted by the unions, the law has brought with it the threat of privatisation threat to the public transport sector. It is to be noted that while the Telangana State Road Transport Corporations have been on strike since October 5, the state government has been rigidly opposing to their demand of merger with the state government. On October 24, Chief Minister K Chandrashaekar Rao himself told the media that the new MV act has given the state government all power over the public transport and claimed that the privatisation of TSRTC is inevitable, despite a pending High Court case on the matter.
All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation joined by trade unions is all set to launch a countrywide protest next month against the MV act with the main demand to repeal the act itself.
Earlier, on September 19, more than 30 transport associations and unions including United Front of Transport Associations, had given a call for a one-day strike on October 29 against different provisions of the amended MV Act.
States like Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab have kept the implementation of act under hold and have taken up awareness campaigns.