Follow Gujarat Govt, Slash Traffic Fines
The Amended Motor Vehicles Act provides for stricter punishment and steeper penalties for various traffic-related offences. Experts believe that the higher penalties will help in reducing violations of traffic rules and the number of road accidents. However, it must be said that the increase in fines for traffic rule violations is quite steep and will hit the common man hard. A man from New Delhi had to pay Rs 23,000 challan, which was half the price of his vehicle. The man was driving without the basic documents. A steep penalty could leave a huge dent on the monthly income of a common man. The Goa government has deferred the implementation of the amended Act till January because of the pathetic condition of the roads in the state. It is understood that barely ten days after the amended Motor Vehicles Act came into force, the Gujarat government notified that the fines for some of the traffic offences have been reduced by 25 per cent to as much as 90 per cent than those notified by the Centre. The Gujarat government’s justification to reduce the penalties on “compassionate and humanitarian” grounds is reportedly now likely to pave the way for other states to lower the fines as well. The Goa government could follow in the footsteps of the Gujarat government and reduce the penalty for some not-so-serious violations of the traffic rules like penalty for vehicle owners not possessing pollution under control (PUC) certificate.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO
Abysmal Fixed Deposit Rates In Public Sector Banks
The drastic reduction in interest rates on Fixed Deposits (FDs) by the State Bank of India (SBI) to an all-time low of 6.25 per cent has hit senior citizens and pensioners badly, especially those struggling to make ends meet, due to the high cost of living. Their hope of enjoying a secure and hassle-free interest in the sunset years of their lives has been shattered. A similar situation also prevails in other public sector banks, which are struggling to recover crores of rupees of bad loans and systematically reducing interest rates on FDs over the past few years to keep themselves afloat. In such a dismal scenario and economic slowdown in the country, the only option remaining for survival is private banks and co-operative society banks, some of which are offering interest rates as high as 12 per cent on FDs and up to 7 per cent on savings accounts. Moreover, customer-friendly service, attractive lending rates and zero-balance savings accounts are also assets that have enhanced the credibility of these banks and allayed fears of imminent closure and the downing of shutters overnight.
A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM