Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Sadak Yojana
India has the ignominious distinction of having the deadliest roads in the world. Every single day the newspapers are full of such tragic stories, where innocent lives are lost due to road accidents. Marriage parties, tourist vehicles, school buses etc. all fall prey to rash driving, bad road conditions and lack of standardized safety features in vehicles. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year on an average more than 2,31,000 fatalities occur due to road accidents in India. Taking note of this the Government of India has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Sadak Yojana’ . The aim is to halve the number of deaths due to road accidents by the year 2020.
The objective of the scheme is to decrease the number of said fatalities by eliminating accident prone zones on the National Highways. This shall be achieved by improving the design and engineering of the roads and setting up railings on hilly roads. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Roads Transport and Highways and already the ministry has directed all the states to identify such accident prone spots where the scheme shall be implemented and already close to 800 spots have been identified under this scheme.
The ministry shall also collaborate with the IIT’s to develop special reflectors for roads in the hilly regions of the country and eliminate sharp curves and blind spots on those roads.
The main features
The main features of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Sadak Yojana’ are:
- Eliminating accident prone spots throughout the country.
- Improving the designing and engineering techniques used in the construction of roads.
- Providing railings on hilly roads to prevent vehicles which lose control from falling off steep hills and mountains.
- Collaborating with premier national institutions like the IIT’s to develop special reflectors for hilly areas
- Roads in hilly areas often have extremely sharp bends, these create blind spots and vehicles have no clue about oncoming traffic. This leads to accidents and loss of lives on a regular basis. These bends shall be corrected and the blind spots eliminated.
- Ultimate goal is to reduce the fatalities due to road accidents by at least 50 percent by the year 2020.
The benefits Of Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Sadak Yojana
The proper implementation of this scheme shall benefit the country immensely, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Some of the obvious ways the scheme shall benefit the country and the society at large are:
- The massive loss of life due to road accidents that India witnesses every year, results in an estimated loss of at least 2 to 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thus the safety measures planned to be implemented shall minimize such loss of lives.
- The elimination of accident prone zones shall make roads safer for everybody and facilitate faster transportation
- Railings on mountainous roads are another vital aspect that shall be covered under the scheme. Often unremarkable, minor accidents turn into tragedies when vehicles fall off the steep mountain roads into ravines and gorges due to the absence of guardrails near the edges. The proposed railings shall go a long way in saving lives in mountainous areas.
Government Contribution For The Scheme :
The Government has already earmarked a sum of Rs. 2000 crores for the initial implementation of the scheme.The scheme shall be implemented on a pan India basis by the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways.
Other measures taken by the Government to ensure road safety
Cars are subjected to stringent crash tests in first world countries before being allowed to go on sale. Some of these notable tests are the New Car Assessment Program or the NCAP, started in 1979 by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Euro NCAP which is accepted by the European Union and is based on the American NCAP. Based on these tests the cars are given star ratings signifying the level of protection on offer and unless they meet minimum safety criteria they are not allowed to go on sale. However in the absence of such safety tests in India, car makers are selling cars with impunity where none of these come with any safety features whatsoever. The situation is so bad that most of the so called ‘modern’ cars available in India fail to score even half a star in the international NCAP tests. Thus to make cars more safer the Indian Government has decided to implement the Bharat National Car Assessment Program or the Bharat NCAP to provide star certification based on safety. This is a laudable move by the Government and should be implemented strictly to ensure the safety of the passengers.
Also Read – Pradhan Mantri Kanya Dhan Yojana
In another move it is being proposed that first aid training and training in basic lifesaving techniques such as CPR etc. shall be made mandatory for drivers of heavy commercial vehicles. This is being done so that in case an accident occurs, the accident victims should not have to wait till medical assistance arrives as this may take time and cause needless loss of lives which could easily be saved with some first aid or other basic life saving techniques. Hence these drivers can act as an emergency response team and provide emergency care to the victims until proper help arrives as this may very well be the fine line between life and death for those victims. It is being mooted that the drivers shall be issued licenses only after completing the training successfully.