Lok Sabha passes bill to legalise e-rickshaws

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2014 to legalise e-rickshaws by bringing them under the ambit of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

With the passage of the bill in both the Houses of Parliament, e-rickshaws and e-carts will have to follow the mandatory requirements with regard to display of registration marks, size of letters and numerals of the registration mark, transfer of ownership and validity of certificates and fitness, minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari who piloted the bill, informed the House.

Excluding the drivers, these e-rickshaws will be mandated by rules to carry only four passengers and not more than 40 Kg luggage. The power of its motor will not be more than 2000 Watts and speed a maximum 25 kmph and these e-rikshaws will be treated as motor vehicles.

The state governments will register e-rickshaws as per the amended rules, he said.

E-rickshaws have been plying on the Delhi roads since 2012 but did not have any registration numbers and, therefore, they were not regulated. The minister allayed apprehensions of some members about the safety of the passengers of e-rickshaws as well as the road users.

Gadkari hoped that with the improvement in technology, more and more manually pulled cycle-rickshaws would upgrade to electric powered three-wheeled vehicles. He informed the House that The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), which was commissioned by the transport department of Delhi government, had recommended to the government that e-rickshaws be treated as motor vehicles.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2014 introduced in the Lok Sabha on 15 December 2014, seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

  • Under the Act, a motor vehicle or vehicle is defined as any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon the roads.
  • The bill does not include (i) a vehicle running upon fixed rails or (ii) a vehicle of a special type adapted for use only in a factory or in any other enclosed premises or (iii) a vehicle having less than four wheels fitted with engine capacity of not exceeding 25 cc.
  • The Bill brings e-carts and e-rickshaws under the ambit of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.  E-carts and e-rickshaws are defined as special purpose battery powered vehicles, having three wheels, and with power up to 4000 Watts.
  • Under the Act, a person shall be granted a learner's licence to drive public service vehicles, goods carriages, educational institution buses or private service vehicles, only if he has held a driving licence to drive a light motor vehicle for at least one year.
  • The Bill states that the conditions for issuing of driver licences for e-cart or e-rickshaw shall be prescribed.
  • The Bill also provides for the central government to make Rules on the specifications for e-carts and e-rickshaws and the manner and conditions for issuing driving licences.

 ''The e- rickshaws will be a great help to dalits and poor people from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities'', said Gadkari while replying to the two- day debate on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2014 in the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha passed the bill with a voice vote to regulate e-rickshaws which provide affordable last mile connectivity to millions of commuters including women and senior citizens.