TV channels are full of outrage about an Indian Air Force corporal, Abhimanyu Gaud, being run over by a politician's son in Kolkata.
It's ironic that this incident has occurred while India observes 'Road Safety Week'.
India observes this every January, and this year, the designated week is 11-17 January. The theme for this year is 'Road Safety - Time for Action'.
It is indeed a time for action. The dismal state of road safety in India is evident from the statistics - it is the world leader in road fatalities. And even worse than the numbers is the dreadful effect it has on citizens.
Consider some of these appalling facts:
This is also higher than malaria deaths around the world.
On average, this means 137,762 fatalities every year.
In the same period, however, road accidents increased by 4.7%.
This is only 5% of the Central investment into the National Highway Authority of India in 2015-16.
The Bill envisages new statutory bodies that are accountable to Parliament, reforms in the licencing and permit systems and increase in punishments.
There is also a 111% underreporting of road accidents.
Analysis by the government shows that 2 lakh lives can be saved in five years, and the GDP improved by 4%, if the proposed Bill is followed in its entirety.
The importance of road safety can be understood by the fact that the United Nations has also declared 2011-20 as the 'Decade of Action on Road Safety'. It's high time some concrete steps were taken.
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