The Maharashtra government on Saturday came up with a decision to withdraw the cap on taxi and auto-rickshaw permits in Mumbai and other key cities. The notification has dissolved the lottery system of granting permits and will allow any number of applicants to avail permits. The aim of the decision to issue permits without any caps is to curb black market. Permits in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur were restricted from November 1997. In 2014, the state government reviewed the existing permits in operation and those not in use were issued through a lottery system. The second lottery was conducted in 2016.
Earlier drivers, who did not have their own permits, had to hire but now they can easily get taxi and auto-rickshaw permits. According to transport officials, the government’s decision will help to reduce fares due to the increase in the number of vehicles.
Applicants had to be grade eight pass, 15 years if domicile status, 20 years of age and license to drive light motor vehicle. The badge need to be acquired first and then the license to drive the vehicle. Due to a petition filed by Nagpur auto rickshaw union, the Bombay High Court struck down the mandatory condition of ‘passing the Marathi test’. The test introduced in 2016, asked applicants to read a paragraph in Marathi. But now the knowledge of the language would be checked during the handling over the badge and would be judged by the local transport authority.
Though the new decision will help to improve transport services, it will also increase the number of vehicles plying in the city leading to parking woes. Currently, Maharashtra is home to around 1.5 lakh taxis and 7.5 lakh auto-rickshaws.