Expressing concern over the loss of 1.3 million people in road crashes in India, a group of MPs have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to unveil a strong road safety legislation.
“This government’s assurances regarding introducing a comprehensive road safety legislation remains to be acted upon,” Shashi Tharoor of the Congress said.
“As an Indian MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, I am dismayed at how poorly we fare on road safety by global standards, which also dents our country’s image worldwide.
“While many other developing countries including China have taken swift action to bring down the number of deaths in road crashes, India still lags behind.
“I am writing to the PM again to convey the urgent need for a strong road safety law,” he added.
The MPs stressed on the political commitment made by the government after the demise of BJP leader and Union Minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident two years ago.
Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), one of the signatories to the letter, said: “The frequency of road crashes is increasing, and the number of daily fatalities now stands at 400, with over 70 percent of the fatalities falling in the most productive age group of 15 to 44.”
At present, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which governs road transport in India, is an archaic legislation that has failed to address the prevailing systemic challenges that make Indian roads the most unsafe in the world.
According to official data, over 16 people are killed every hour in India in road accidents. The annual economic loss suffered by the country due to this issue alone stands at 3 percent of India’s GDP.
The signatories to the letter include Rajeev Satav, Ninong Ering, S.P. Muddahanumegowda and G. Sukender Reddy (Congress); R.K. Jena, Balabhadra Majhi and Kulamani Samal (BJD); A.P. Jithender Reddy, B. Narasaiah Goud, Bheemrao B. Patil, K. Prabhakar Reddy, Godam Nagesh and K. Vishweshwar Reddy (TRS) and Dushyant Singh Chautala (INLD).