STOCKHOLM: India would require to make an additional investment of around Rs 76,300 crore annually for the next 10 years (at conversion rate of Rs 70 per US dollar) to meet the global target of reducing road fatalities by 50%, according to a new estimate released by the World Bank on Thursday.
The World Bank in its report “Driving Road Safety in India” has estimated that this investment will bring economic benefits equivalent annually to 3.7% of GDP.
Quoting an analysis by the bank and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Bank in its report report claimed that reduction in road crash fatalities and injuries by half would result in an estimated 14% increase in GDP over a period of 24 years.
The report was released in Stockholm where the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was held. Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday had assured the global leaders that India will meet the expectation of reducing road fatalities. He said it was a huge concern as India has 11% of all road deaths reported across the globe.
Advocating for more investment to make roads safer, the World Bank report has claimed that the estimated population welfare gains from achieving a 50% fatality reduction over this 24 year period will be equivalent to 16.3% of the GDP.
This is for the first time an estimate has been worked out projecting the benefit that India can reap by reducing the number of road fatalities. So far the discussion have been around how the annual socio-economic cost of all road accidents could be close to 3% of country’s GDP, which was based on an estimate prepared by the Planning Commission.
Hartwig Schafer, World Bank vice president for South Asia said, “Years of rapid economic growth in South Asia, followed by a steep rise in vehicle ownership have led to mounting traffic deaths and contributed to lost economic opportunities.”
On Wednesday, Gadkari had told the global audience that India will focus on fixing the deficiencies in road engineering and stricter enforcement of traffic rules to put a brake on the high number of road fatalities.
“High number of blackspots simply shows what’s wrong with the road design,” he added.
The leaders from over 140 countries including India and its neighbouring countries participated in the global summit, which adopted the resolution to reduce road deaths by 50% in the next 10 years.
Leaders from different countries accepted that barring a couple of developed nations, all others have failed to meet the target of 50% reduction of fatalities between 2010 and 2020, which was declared as the UN Decade of Action. “We may have to take some smart actions, else we will have same results,” said Ogla Algayerova, executive secretary of UN Economic Commission for Europe.
She added human being is the only rare species on the plant that wants to destroy themselves.


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