The Indian Government is observing its first-ever 'National Road Safety Month' this year, between January 18, 2021, and February 17, 2021. During this safety campaign, the World Bank on Saturday released a new report on road safety. According to a report from PTI, India which has one per cent of the world's vehicles accounts for 10 per cent of global road crash victims highlighted the World Bank report. Each year around 1.5 lakh people lose their lives in a road accident. Last month, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari, said that the Indian roads witnessed 415 deaths per day in accidents, which was the highest in the world.
Hartwig Schafer, World Bank's Vice President for South Asia, said the government of India has taken significant steps in recent years to address the issues related to road safety. He said road crashes hit the poorest and the most vulnerable segments of the populations.
He said, "For India, it's one per cent of the world's vehicles and 10 per cent of the crash victims. This is something where, in particular in India, we have to pay attention. Unfortunately, the road crashes have not been going down and any time 10 per cent of the capacity in hospitals is being used for the treatment crash victims."
He further mentioned that, "The financial impact of the crash is much more on poorer households than on better-off households. It is much higher on women who have to take care of the burden of caregiving. It is much higher on those who rely on foot and also in the informal sector," he said.
Last year, India amended its Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, which is bringing a lot of innovation in terms of financing, protection and enforcement to the fore, he said.
As per the Road Accident Report for 2019, a total number of 449,002 accidents happened in India during the calendar year 2019, resulting in 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries.
Nitin Gadkari said, "First of all, this is really one of the eye-opening reports for me, for my government. We need to change the law and frame appropriate policies and schemes that can be helpful for them. We will arrange a meeting with my secretary and officials, on the basis of that, we will 100% take the policy decision that how we can give our all recommendations, whatever the schemes which are making for the poor people, who are facing acute problems after accidents. So, where we will frame the policy and schemes by which we will try to really transform them to their original life."
He further stated, "There are a lot of lapses in our legal system and particularly with administrative department related with the police department. After the accident, we need to connect poor people to the government schemes by which they will get all types of benefits from the scheme for their future life. As per the report and various studies across the world, it is now clear that accidents caused are a tremendous burden to society and nation. In India, 1.5 lakh people died, more than 4.5 lakh injured, and 4.5 lakh road accidents every year."