The validity of crucial documents like driving licence, vehicle registration, and fitness certificates that have expired since February 1 and could not be extended owing to the coronavirus pandemic has been extended until March 31, 2021, the Union ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) said on Sunday.

This is the fourth such extension for the validity of these documents. The last such extension was done in August, when the government had extended the validity till December 31, 2020. The latest extension is meant to cover documents that expire either by February 1 or by March 31 of 2021.

This has been done to help citizens use their private modes of transportation while maintaining social distancing, said the MoRTH. “This will help out citizens in availing transport-related services while maintaining social distancing,” the circular released by the Press Information Bureau said.

Keeping in mind the long queues for licence renewal that would violate social distancing norms, and the lockdowns and curfews that are still in force in different parts of the country, the decision of extending the deadline was taken by the Union ministry.

“The government has provided for the availability of the essential goods and production thereof and has allowed the vehicles for the transport of such goods/cargo and further opening up the operation of passenger transport in view of the fact that citizens were finding it difficult to get renewed the validity of various documents due to lock-down in operation at various stages in different parts of the country and other countries world over. Renewal of such documents is still leading to the assembly of people and long queues in front of the transport offices across the country,” the Union government said in an advisory to all states and union territories (UTs).

The Union ministry has asked all states and UTs to implement the recent advisory in letter and spirit so that citizens do not face additional challenges during an ongoing pandemic.

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