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No regulation in place for Uber, other transportation technology aggregators

The agreement between the Telangana government and Uber is expected to bring in short-term relief in terms of employment and investment. Uber drivers during a protest in Hyderabad recently.— File photo: G. Ramakrishna

The agreement between the Telangana government and Uber is expected to bring in short-term relief in terms of employment and investment. Uber drivers during a protest in Hyderabad recently.— File photo: G. Ramakrishna  

Uber drivers’ intensified notwithstanding, the Telangana government is yet to formulate a regulatory framework to rein in transportation technology aggregators such as the Netherlands origin company.

On the contrary, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the State government and Uber, in the first week of July states that within four weeks of signing the MoU such a regulation should be drafted and passed.

As per the MoU, the State government was to identify, draft and pass a regulatory framework for on-demand transportation technology aggregators “which permit ridesharing (peer to peer transportation using private vehicles)”. The framework should have aimed towards regulating operations of on-demand transportation technology aggregators like Uber and drivers registered on such platforms. The regulatory framework was also meant to ensure protection of riders respectively.

Uber’s operations in Hyderabad and the decision to set up a $50 million facility in the city had raised objections earlier as the company’s operations did not have Road Transport Authority’s permit to operate in the city.

However, the MoU which the State government signed with the company allows Uber operations in Hyderabad and yet to be identified zones, subject to a regulatory framework that is to be drafted. As per the MoU, the government should have passed a transportation technology aggregator scheme which permits ride sharing that allows peer-to-peer service in the city in Uber’s benefit.s

“The State will have to consult the existing frameworks of regulation put out by Government of India before it forms its own regulations,” said an RTA official, on condition of anonymity, adding the regulation will soon be in place. However, as per an Right to Information (RTI) response procured by activist, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu from Union ministry of Road Transport and Highways, it was clarified that GoI has not sent out any advisory to state government’s for regulation of app based taxi services.

What the MoU entails

The agreement between the State government and Uber is, however, expected to bring in short term relief in terms of employment and investment. As per the MoU, 2,000 drivers who hail from marginalised sectors of society including religious minorities, women and deprived castes and tribes will be linked to the Uber platform by the end of 2016.

The State government through its Telangana Academy of Skills and Knowledge (TASK), is expected to give training to potential candidates from marginalised sectors at subsidised rates of 50 per cent or below of regular training costs. The State is also expected to assist such persons in procuring financing to purchase cars. Uber’s financial support of such candidates, as per the MoU, will however be based on “varying market dynamics” and “candidates use of Uber platform”.

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