The Gist of Press Information Bureau: August 2014
Road Safety in India on Priority
The UN General Assembly has adopted 2011-2020 as the Decade
of Action for Road Safety and set a goal for reducing fatalities from road
accidents by 50 percent during the period recognizing the severe impact of road
accidents on global health. Every year about 1.2 million people die and 50
million get affected in road accidents globally losing 1.2 trillion US Dollars
in these accidents, says Mr. K K Kapila, Chairman, International Road
Federation. According to the World Health Organization unless concerted action
is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause
of death in the world by 2030.
With the growing urbanization and vehicular traffic, the
issue of safety on roads also keep growing in terms of concerns and
solutions. The concern becomes all the more relevant in view of the fact that
number of persons killed in road accidents in India is the highest in the world.
More than 4.97 lakh road accidents in 2011 are reported to have claimed over
1.42 lakh lives. These numbers translate into roughly one road accident per
minute and one road accident death every four minutes for India.
Though the data for the year 2012 shows a declining trend
with over 4.90 lakh accidents claiming 1.38 lakh lives, still the number is too
high to give reason to breathe easy. The analysis of road accidents in terms of
causal factor’s reveals that drivers’ fault accounts for 78.7 per cent (3,85,934
accidents) of total road accidents. The reason behind fault may vary from
alcohol/drugs to mobile addiction, overloading/overcrowding of vehicles,
exceeding lawful speed and tiredness etc. Since drivers’ fault has been found
responsible for about 80% road accidents, it is important to make them aware and
realize that they are the killers on roads when they violate the laws/measures.
The Ministry of RTH has taken steps to minimize road accidents in the country.
The Government has approved a National Road Safety Policy. This Policy outlines
various policy measures such as promoting awareness, establishing road safety
information data base, encouraging safer road infrastructure including
application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws etc. The
Government has constituted National Road Safety Council as the apex body to take
policy decisions in matters of road safety. The Ministry has requested all
States/UTs for setting up of State Road Safety Council and District Road Safety
The Ministry has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address
the issue of road safety based on four E’s of Road Safety that is Education,
Enforcement, Engineering (roads as well as vehicles) and Emergency care. Road
safety has been made an integral part of road design at the planning stage.
Road Safety Audit of selected stretches of National Highways/Expressways
adopted. Driving training institutes being established, Tightening of safety
standards of vehicles like helmets, seat belts, power-steering, rear view mirror
and Publicity campaigns on road safety awareness.
Text books of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
syllabus in Class VI to Class XII. State Governments have also been advised to
include Road Safety education in the curriculum of the schools administered by
the State Education Board.
Providing cashless treatment to road accident victims for 48 hours at
expenditure up to a limit of Rs. 30,000/-a pilot project launched on
Gurgaon-Jaipur section of NH 8.
Identification of top 25 black spots in 13 States which account for 90% of
road accidents in India. The short term remedial measures have been completed
for most of the black spots identified.
Finalisation of National Ambulance Code based on the
recommendations of the Working Group on Emergency care.This ’Code’ puts in place
minimum standards and guidelines regarding the constructional and functional
requirements of road ambulances in India.
Notifying Consignments protruding beyond the body of goods carrier as
The States have been advised to prepare action plan on road
safety for their States. The States’ annual action plan on road safety needs to
set ambitious but realistic targets for at least five years. All the States/UTs
have been asked to identify a lead agency in the State and also set up Road
Safety Fund at the State level by earmarking 50% of the funds generated from
fines on account of violation of traffic rules.
Though UN decade of action plan to reduce road fatalities by
50% started in 2011, after three years much needs to be done. In India, budget
for Road Safety needs to be enhanced and proper road safety plans/ mechanism to
be in place in all the States. It needs to be ensured that orders relating to
Road Safety that exist are followed strictly and violation punished.
Conservation of Biodiversity
Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity have been an
integral part of Indian ethos. The varied eco-climatic conditions coupled with
unique geological and cultural features have contributed to an astounding
diversity of habitats, which harbor and sustain immense biological diversity at
all levels. With only 2.4% of world’s land area, India accounts for 7-8% of
recorded species of the world. In terms of species richness, India ranks seventh
in mammals, ninth in birds and fifth in reptiles. In terms of endemism of
vertebrate groups, India’s position is tenth in birds with 69 species, fifth in
reptiles with 156 species and seventh in amphibians with 110 species. India’s
share of crops is 44% as compared to the world average of 11%. India also has
23.39% of its geographical area under forest and tree cover. Of the 34 globally
identified biodiversity hotspots, India harbor 3 hotspots, i.e., Himalaya, Indo
Burma, Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. Western Ghats are recently included in World
Heritage list. It is very rich in flora and fauna and serves as cradle of
biodiversity. One of the most pressing environmental issues today is the
conservation of biodiversity. Many factors threaten the world’s biological
heritage. The challenge is for nations, government agencies, organisations and
individuals to protect and enhance biological diversity, while continuing to
meet people’s needs for natural resources. Efforts have been initiated to save
biodiversity both by ex-situ and in-situ conservation. International
Biodiversity day is celebrated across the globe on 22nd May every year.
Biodiversity Act 2002
The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is a federal legislation
enacted by the Parliament of India for preservation of biological diversity in
India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of
use of traditional biological resources and knowledge. The Act was enacted to
meet the obligations under Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which
India is a party. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in
2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002). The NBA is a
Statutory, Autonomous Body and it performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory
function for the Government of India on issues of conservation, sustainable use
of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out
of the use of biological resources.
Biospheres and Biodiversity Reserves
The Indian government has established 18 Biosphere Reserves
in India, which protect larger areas of natural habitat and often include one or
more National Parks and Reserves, along buffer zones that are open to some
economic uses. Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the
protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions,
and their ways of life. Animals are protected and saved here.