Minimum qualification for drivers

Our Bureau | Updated on March 06, 2011 Published on March 06, 2011

BL07BRIEF2   -  The Hindu

Prescribing a minimum academic qualification for granting a commercial vehicle driving licence is one of the options being considered by the government as a means to curb accidents on highways, it is learnt. The government's objective, it appears, is good. At present, the commercial vehicle drivers are mostly illiterate. They first start as hangers-on, then become helpers and gradually take to driving at the sweet will of the vehicle-owners. For obtaining a licence, no experience, no qualification, not even proper training, is needed; the greasing of palms at the appropriate level is enough. This must change, feels the government. But the goods vehicles owners association feels differently. Not without logic though. Prescribing a minimum qualification without creating the proper training facilities at the ITI level will only create a shortage of drivers. As it is, an estimated 20 per cent of country's existing fleet of goods vehicles remains idle for want of proper drivers. The shortage will only become more acute as more and more vehicles hit the road. However, the shortage of skilled drivers, a study by IRU suggests, is a worldwide phenomenon.

High-speed passenger trains planned

Having been slow to follow the global trend in introducing high-speed passenger trains, the Railway Ministry, it now appears, wants to catch up. Indian Railways, according to Rail Budget 2011-12, plans to push ahead passenger trains of 160-200 kmph and, accordingly, a study, with help from Japan, is in progress for the Mumbai-Delhi corridor. Similar studies too are due for other routes. The Government's endorsement might have stemmed from the evidence from other countries where high-speed passenger trains have facilitated economic regeneration, in many cases helping narrow the divide between prosperous and not-so-prosperous regions. However, a word of caution. First, one must learn from the delay in the implementation of the proposed dedicated freight corridors to be used only by high-speed freight trains. More important, since the proposed high-speed passenger trains will be costly, it is critical that the benefits of such a shiny venture far exceed those of alternative transport projects.

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Published on March 06, 2011
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