President Pranab Mukherjee has signed an ordinance to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 2014, paving the way for the plying of e-rickshaws on roads of the National Capital Region (NCR). The Union Cabinet had approved promulgation of the ordinance on December 24, 2014, as a bill in this regard could not be passed during the Winter Session of Parliament. E-rickshaws, or battery-operated three-wheeler vehicles, had gone off the roads of the national capital and adjoining areas after the Delhi High Court banned their plying last July over safety concerns. Under the new rules, e-rickshaws will be allowed to carry four passengers and 40 kilograms of luggage while e-carts would transport goods up to 310 kilograms. Under the Motor Vehicles Act, no person can be granted a learner’s licence to drive a transport vehicle unless he or she has held the driving licence for a period of at least one year. As most e-rickshaw and e-cart drivers do not have any license for a year, the extant provision debarred them from operating e-rickshaws and e-carts. To remove this difficulty, the Cabinet approved a proposal of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, through an ordinance.
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