3% of GDP lost to road crashes: Min. Kamal Nath
The Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Mr Kamal Nath has said that India is losing 3% of its GDP to road crashes. The figure is as per a study conducted by a working group set up by the Planning Commission, Government of India. The Minister said this while launching the National Campaign for ‘Reduction of Road Fatalities’.
The campaign is a joint initiative of MoRTH and International Roads Federation (IRF), a Washington and Geneva based world wide platform for Road Safety. According to the WHO’s global status report on road safety, India tops the global list of deaths in road accidents with 125,000 fatalities and at least 2.2 million serious injuries each year. The Minister attributed the growing number of accidents to the unbalanced growth of road traffic compared to the development of road network.
"Total number of road accidents as reported in 2007 was about 4.80 lakhs, which had about 1.10 lakhs fatalities and about 5 million injured. The fatalities have increased to 1.25 lakhs in 2008. On an average, 313 persons are being killed every day on Indian roads and this number is increasing every year. Number of persons killed in road accidents is about 30% of all unnatural deaths in India,” he said.
“India has vast length of road network of about 3.3 million Kms. Though it is second largest in the world after US, the standards of the roads are of varying nature from very poor to excellent. The total number of vehicles in the country has increased from 0.3 million in 1951 to about 89.6 million in 2006 though total vehicle population per thousand persons is much less compared to developed countries. Kilometerage of road, however, has not increased in matching proportions.”, Mr Nath said .
“First and immediate action is required on engineering front. We have to build or improve the roads to the standard of ‘Forgiving Roads’. The design and construction of roads should be such that any mistake in the man-machine system is taken care of by the road. Simultaneously, enforcement of traffic disciplines for vehicles and non-motorised traffic by the agencies concerned is of paramount importance.The trauma care service to provide post accident trauma care to the road accident victims with a view to reducing fatalities is an essential component in road accident management,” he added.
“Government also plans to exempt tax in respect of road safety related expenditure by corporates, as suggested by IRF. Large corporates in the country including contractors, concessionaires, vehicle manufacturers, equipment manufacturers should come forward to participate for this
national cause and make the roads and road transport safe and free from fatalities,” he concluded.
“In absolute terms for the year 1999-2000, three% of GDP worked out to Rs55,000 crore, which in terms of today’s cost and actual data would be a mind boggling Rs75,000 crore a year. In spite of these facts known to all concerned, respective Governments and the civic society of India have done little to avert this epidemic,” said KK Kapila, vice chairman, IRF, while speaking on the occasion.