Getting a licence to drive a car may not be a pain.
The government plans to liberalise the law to empower accredited driving schools to conduct oral tests for a learner’s licence. The driving schools would issue a certificate to applicants who clear the tests.
People will still have to visit the district motor licensing office for picking up the driving licence. But after this amendment drafted by the government comes into force, this would be a mere formality.
The Motor Vehicles Act already has provisions to exempt applicants for a permanent licence from the practical test if they hold a certificate from a select list of schools including the one run by the Automobile Association of Upper India.
“It is a logical step,” said an AAUI functionary.
Several associations of motor licensing officers had opposed this provision during consultations, arguing that it could adversely impact the quality of licensed drivers.
The union ministry of road transport and highways, however, did not share this perception. To the contrary, he said, it might actually improve since driving schools would have to undergo detailed scrutiny to qualify for this privilege.
Besides, if a significant proportion of applicants go through the driving schools, it would reduce the workload of licensing officers and give them more time to deal with others.
“If people have the certificate from a reputed driving school, the licensing officers would lose the power to refuse grant of a licence,” he said.
This amendment to the MV Act would be part of a “reformist” comprehensive Bill to be introduced in Parliament during the second leg of the Budget Session.
The Bill also introduces a 45-day deadline for transport authorities to decide on appeals, reduces the grace period for renewing driving licences from five years to one and makes it mandatory for officials checking any motor vehicle to establish his identify and issue a standardized receipt if he wants to seize the driving licence.