Running a car more than three years old will soon require a fitness certificate every two years from an authorised workshop or the regional transport office.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is seeking opinion on the proposed change in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules. "A draft notification has been circulated to other ministries for their views," an official of the ministry told Hindustan Times. He said the rule was expected early next year.
The certification regime -- inspired by EU standards -- is expected to help maintain emission norms for environmental protection and reduce accidents caused by mechanical failures. In the US, UK and Japan, such fitness checks are mandatory.
In India, the fitness certification programme will be implemented in phases. In the first phase, metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai will be covered with Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat. The second phase will cover other cities more than 10 lakh population. Rest of the country will be taken up in the third phase.
"Vehicles will be checked through an automated system for safety and emission," said S. Sunder of the Energy and Research Institute. Two years ago, a committee headed by him had recommended to the government that vehicle fitness checks be made mandatory every two years.
To ensure compliance by vehicle owners, the government wants to link the fitness certificate to vehicle-insurance premium. Two options are being considered: no insurance without a fitness certificate or a higher insurance premium for vehicles without proof of their road-worthiness.
Workshops found flouting the rules will be punished — may even lose their licence.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers is not opposed to the move but its Director-General Duleep Chenoy said: "We fear the rule may meet a similar fate as the rules on helmets and seat-belts."