Government wants taxi aggregators to do skill training of one lakh drivers annually

New Delhi : The government wants taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola to do skill-training of one lakh commercial drivers every year, majority of them women, by setting up driver training institutes in small towns to address shortage of trained drivers.

The government, on its part, will ensure that the time frame for obtaining a commercial driving license is reduced to not more than three months from about a year at present.

Top officials of the road transport and highways ministry raised the issue in a recent meeting with senior executives of Uber.

The government also wants the training institutes set up by taxi aggregators to train drivers on issues related to passenger safety.

“Operations of Uber have grown massively in the country. There’s a huge shortfall in supply for commercial drivers. We want these technology-based app companies to train one lakh drivers a year,” a senior transport ministry official told.

Uber is available in 27 cities with over 2.5 lakh driver-partners. The company is already in aggressive expansion mode. It has committed investment worth $1billion in India. According to a road ministry estimate, over 1.6 million vehicles in India are licensed to run as city cabs but there are not as many quality drivers.

“We have already told Uber to train drivers. Ola executives are meeting us shortly. We want them to commit to training drivers every year as they will need them too because of growing demand and also because they have their own fleet growing,” the official added.

The ministry will prepare a month-long curriculum for these driver training institutes. The move will contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Skill India’ initiative without the government spending even a penny.

According to an estimate, India’s organized taxi-hailing market is estimated to grow to $15 billion by 2022 from the current $1.2 billion. “It will be like a short-term skill development course and we will ensure that all aspirants who complete this course get commercial licenses in three months,” the transport ministry official quoted above said.

The government also hopes to amend the Motor Vehicles Act in the current session of Parliament to bring down the time period for securing a commercial driving license to a maximum of three months after the applicant obtains a learner’s license.

Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.