Sunday, September 21, 2014

Good Start, Can do more

The Road Transport & Safety Bill 2014 (Draft)

New Transportation Minister Nitin Gadkari has made it a priority to overhaul India's archaic road safety rules and procedures, which have proven to be nothing but paper tigers in the face of millions of road accidents and fatalities each year, particularly on highways. This draft bill is the outcome of a series of discussions on the topic.

Overall, the bill is very good and goes a long way in embracing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a 'digital India,' incorporating ICT-enabled solutions to control India's abysmal traffic safety record. But it goes a step further and proposes such solutions for licensing, thus ending several illegal and unethical practices that go on in just about every RTA in the country.

Where the Bill falls short is in private sector involvement. While it is certainly a good idea to put higher crash safety standards on industry, they should have a say in determining those standards as well. Moreover, instead of PSUs, the private sector should be involved in developing ICT solutions for traffic safety to help build capacity and improve efficiency.

Thus, the Draft Bill, while a good first try, definitely needs some improvement, because it can go much higher. 

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