The Maharashtra government has announced new rules for taxi drivers that will not allow many migrants to get permits in the state.
The state government has decided to give new taxi permits to only those who have lived in the state for 15 years. The new rules say that to get a permit, the person should also be able to read. speak and write Marathi.
"In fleet taxis many of the permits had expired. We want to renew them and the taxis will be new, air-conditioned but their drivers have to be able to speak, read, write Marathi," Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said.
In all 4,000 new permits will be given each year.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Expectedly, taxi drivers are not willing to accept this. "I have not received any circular yet... This condition is not acceptable to us as taxi drivers are staying here for many years. Why the condition now?" asked AL Quadros, General Secretary of the Mumbai Taximens Union.
This move is being seen as a political one, with the Congress possibly trying to make inroads into Shiv Sena and MNS vote banks. Migrants in Mumbai have, however, traditionally supported the ruling Congress, and the party may stand to lose in these quarters.Is Maharashtra right in barring new migrants from driving taxis? Watch the debate on The Buck Stops Here, tonight at 10 pm.