New Delhi: The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari, has reaffirmed India’s commitment to the United Nation’s goal set under the UN Decade of Action of drastically reducing road accidents by the year 2030.
Addressing the ‘3rd High-Level Global Conference on Road Safety for Achieving Global Goals 2030′ in Stockholm in Sweden yesterday, Gadkari said that India is collaborating with stakeholders and other agencies who are assisting us by way of strengthening the capabilities of various institutions, enhancing awareness and improving our engineering designs for safer roads.
Gadkari said that the Government is fully committed to the safety of its citizens. He focussed on the 4Es of road safety and highlighted that only a ‘safe system approach’ is workable in the long run. The approach of alignment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with road safety espoused by the United Nations is particularly relevant for countries like India where the problem of safety is also linked to social equity.
The Minister said that a large number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorised two-wheelers compete for space on roads, therefore, the road safety requirements of these vulnerable sections need to be kept in mind while designing and developing transport strategies.
The Minister pointed out that India is the largest producer of two-wheelers and amongst largest manufacturer of cars in the world. Road accidents constitute the most important public health concern in the country. He informed that there were 1,51,417 road fatalities in over 4,67,044 road accidents in 2018 and 11% of deaths due to road accident of the world take place in India alone. He said that when translated into economic terms, estimates suggest that this has adversely affected our GDP by as much as 2-3% per annum. Road accidents not only have an economic impact, but also serious implications for those involved in such crashes and their immediate families who suffer severe physical and psychological trauma as a result, he added.
Gadkari said that India has been undertaking various publicity measures to improve road safety awareness among the general public. The assistance of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) has also been availed of for these campaigns.
The Minister said that India has the second-largest road network in the world. He stated that the Indian government has launched an ambitious program for development and up-gradation of roads in the country, especially the National Highways network.
Gadkari further informed that his Ministry has been working in association with the states, and vehicle manufacturers for strengthening driving training. Institute of Driving Training and Research and regional Driving Training Centres and Driving Training have been established. For the creation of training facility and supporting refresher-training program for vehicle drivers effort to have it automated would be undertaken, he added.
Gadkari said that the principal instrument through which road transport is regulated in the country, the Motor Vehicles Act, has been amended for the first time in a comprehensive way after thirty years. He said that he is sure that the Act will lead to several reforms ranging from road safety, citizen facilitation, transparency, and efficiency through the use of Information Technology.
Gadkari further said that India is looking towards automated systems solutions using technology and having the least human interface in its current licensing and fitness certificate regime. He stressed the importance of reducing accidents and ensured that all efforts would be made to achieve the target set in Stockholm.
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