India is a road safety disaster of inhuman proportions. An official report released by Union Road Transport and Highway Ministry said that 1.46 lakh people lost their lives in road accidents in India in 2015. This is second highest number in the world.
The road transport sector plays a major role in the economy of the country and bears 75 per cent of the total load of passenger and freight transportation. Its share in the country’s GDP is close to 4.5 per cent. Hence, immediate need for road safety rules is there.
- Recommended formation of a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board which will advice the government on road safety standards and guidelines.
- Engineering defects in roads should be addressed.
- Need to strengthen the rural transport system for which Centre will roll out a scheme.
- The Central government would provide 50 per cent funding (rest from states) to introduce new transport vehicles in luxury and semi-luxury categories.
- To improve transport utilities, exempting STU (state transport undertaking) buses from taxes and deregulating the luxury segment to shift people from personal to public transport.
- To address the issues of hill states separately.
- It also sought to raise accident insurance cover along with covering of property loss in the insurance.
- To improve mechanism for helping accident victims and trauma care facilities by launching a comprehensive scheme.
- To liberalise intra-city taxi permits and other automobile aggregation policies like improving parking facilities for the taxis including other public transport vehicles.
- Steps to promote low-cost last mile connectivity solutions and a barrier-free movement of the freight transport across the states.
Significance of Road Safety
As a signatory to Brasilia Declaration on road safety, India is committed to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020