The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had participated in a conference in Sweden in 2020 the ‘Third High Level Global Conference on Road Safety for Achieving Global Goals 2030’ where it was conceptualised to have zero road fatalities in India by 2030.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly, after considering the alarming situation of road accidents fatalities, adopted the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 aimed at reducing fatalities in road accidents by 50% by the year 2020, and was accepted by much of the world including India.
Though a number of steps have been taken in the last decade to check road accidents, statistics published by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways show that the number of deaths in road accidents increased from 1,42,485 in 2011 to 1,51,113 in 2019.
The Ministry is yet to publish its data for the year 2020, but the annual publication of the National Crime Records Bureau, titled Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India (2020) shows that 1,33,201 deaths were recorded in 2020.
The past record of road accidents and available infrastructure to deal with road safety measures in India should not be lost sight of. Despite setting a target of a 50% reduction in accidental deaths, the fatalities from road accidents actually increased in the last decade. Unless the States and the Centre are on the same page in improving and strengthening the infrastructure of States by enabling more funds, merely and only fixing targets will not be a pragmatic approach to reduce road accident fatalities.