Describing the increasing number of road accident deaths as "alarming", Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has called for all-out efforts by all stakeholders to ensure that road mishap deaths are reduced by 50 per cent by 2025.
"We stand at number one position in road accidents in the world, ahead of US and China," Gadkari said while inaugurating the webinar series being launched by the International Road Federation, India Chapter, on the theme of “Road Safety Challenges in India and Preparation of an Action Plan”.
Some 1.5 lakh people die, and more than 4.5 lakh people are injured in road accidents every year in the country — 415 deaths per day in road accidents.
As much as 3.14 per cent of national GDP is the socio-economic loss from these accidents, and 70 per cent of the deaths are in the age group of 18 to 45 years old.
Outlining the efforts taken by his Ministry, Gadkari said improved engineering, education, enforcement, emergency care services are some of the steps taken to combat the problem.
He said the Ministry is working on correcting the more than 5,000 accident black spots identified on the highway network, and more than 40,000 kms of roadway are being audited for safety.
He further said the Central government has proposed a state support programme to incentivise the states with Rs 14,000 crore of funds, to improve road safety.
Pointing out that road safety was mostly a behavioural issue, the Minister said it requires cooperative federalism to boost coordination right from the block to the taluka level.
India is observing the Road Safety Month currently, to build awareness on road safety issues. The 12 webinar series will cover all aspects of road safety, throughout this year.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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