Chandigarh, December 16, 2017 (Pooja Goyal) : 

It has emerged that the Select Committee constituted by the Rajya Sabha to look into and resolve issues raised by the opposition in the monsoon session of the Parliament has missed the deadline set for it by the house to submit its report recommending changes to the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017. The Bill seeks to strengthen several key provisions related to road safety. The Committee, chaired by Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) had been instructed to table its report by the first day of the winter session, without extension of time. The Committee, consisting of 24 members from various political parties across the country, met several times in the last few months and conducted stakeholder consultations, but failed to arrive at a consensus on some of the contentious issues raised primarily by the opposition States.

Delay in the submission of the report will likely delay the passage of the Bill in the upper house. The Bill, introduced in August 2016, was passed by the lower house in April 2017, but failed to get approval of the Rajya Sabha, where it was referred to the Select Committee.

Road safety has been a huge concern in the country, where annually more than 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents and more than 5 lakhs are severely injured. India, which loses 3% of its GDP to road accidents, has one of the least safe roads in the world. Despite the crackdown by the Supreme Court appointed Committee on Road Safety, appointed by the apex court in 2014 and promises by Mr. Gadkari, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways, whose Ministry is pushing the Bill, the failure to amend the Act highlights the apathy towards the issue by the Government and Parliament alike. India is signatory to the Brasilia Declaration, committing to halve road traffic injuries and deaths by 2020, a target it is unlikely to meet.  While the first half of 2017 has shown a slight dip in accidents (3%) and fatalities (4.75%), more than 400 people continue to be killed every single day.

According to Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE, New Delhi “Delay in report submission by select committee is very disappointing. Each and every day we are losing precious lives on Indian Roads. Each life is precious and we cannot lose 413 lives every day in preventable road accidents. Strengthen the road safety to reduce fatalities and save 1, 50,785 lives every year should be the priority”.

 We can’t wait to see people suffering; Select Committee should submit the report without further delay.

Everyday-1,317 Accidents take place and 413 Persons killed on Indian Roads. These casualties may include thousands of innocent children and youth into their productive years of life”. This is massacre on the roads. The passage of Bill is crucial in the winter session.” said Surinder Verma, Consumer Awareness Group.


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