New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri 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 today, Shri Gadkari said, 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.
Shri Gadkari said, the Government is fully committed to safety of our citizens. He focussed on 4Es of Road Safety and highlighted only a ‘safe system approach’ is workable in This the long run. The approach of alignment of Sustainable Development Goals 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 a large number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorised two-wheelers compete for space on roads, therefore, the road safety requirements of these vulnerable sections needs 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; there were 1,51,417 road fatalities in over 4,67,044 road accidents in 2018 alone. 11 percent of deaths due to road accident of the world take place in India alone. 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.
Shri Gadkari said, India has been undertaking various publicity measures to improve road safety awareness among the general public. Assistance of Non-Government Organisations – NGOs has also been availed of for these campaigns.
The Minister said, India has the second largest road network in the world. The government has launched an ambitious programme for development and upgradation of roads in the country, especially the National Highways network and that too with taking care of engineering defects.
The Minister further informed that his Ministry has been working in association with States, and vehicle manufactures for strengthening driving training. Institute of Driving training and Research, Regional Driving Training Centres and Driving Training have established which act as model Driving Training. For creation of training facility and supporting refresher-training programmes for vehicle drivers effort to have it automated would be undertaken.
Shri Gadkari said, 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, 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.
Shri Gadkari further said, India is looking towards automated systems solutions using technology and having least human interface in its current licensing and fitness certificate regime.
Shri Gadkari stressed the importance of reducing accidents and ensured that all efforts would be made to achieve the target set in Stockholm.