A slew of steps are under way to improve public transport in the country that include a scheme to provide assistance to states to augment fleet, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
"The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has introduced a scheme for providing central assistance to the states / UTs / State Road Transport Undertakings for strengthening public transport system," Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The objective is to provide financial assistance for use of latest information technology such as GPS / GSM-based vehicle tracking, computerised reservation, automatic fare collection, electronic ticket vending machines, passenger information system and the like for inter-city and rural area operations and working out a mobility plan, he said.
The increased use of public transport will reduce the use of private vehicles, which in turn will reduce congestion on the road and address traffic issues, he said.
As per the latest available data from Vahan Database, the total number of registered motor vehicles as on March 31, 2016 stood at 19,16,73,947.
"The compound annual growth rate of total registered motor vehicles in India for the last 5 years i.e. from 2011 to 2016 was 94.40 per cent. The increase in number of vehicles expected to be on roads during the next five years depends on the new policy of central and state governments," he said.
He said the Ministry of Urban Development has provided financial assistance of up to 20 per cent for Metro rail projects started by states. More than 22,500 buses have been sanctioned to 157 cities/cluster of cities under the JNNURM scheme too.