Vested interests opposed to transparency and computerisation in the transport sector are against the new road safety bill but government is committed to enacting the law, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
“Despite our best efforts, the Bill (Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015) which we made could not be introduced in Parliament. This is a difficult problem for us. The Act falls in the purview of concurrent list and both state governments and the Centre have rights. Different lobbies are there who are opposing the Bill,” said the Road Transport and Highways Minister.
Addressing a conference on road safety, organised by International Road Federation, Gadkari said the proposed Act will not only computerise the entire system, eradicating corruption but is also designed to bring greater transparency and benefit the public.
“The Bill will take care of driving licences and there are other things… vested interest are trying to obstruct this Act. We will implement it effectively,” he said.
The government is committed to undertake the drive for “Accident-free India” on a mission mode and would target school children through cartoons and lessons on road safety besides roping in celebrities like Amir Khan on the issue, he added.
Concerned over India accounting for one of the highest global numbers annually of 1.5 lakh road fatalities, out of 5 lakh accidents, Gadkari said the target initially is to reduce the road accidents by 50 per cent.
“We need to educate our children to create safety awareness. We are preparing lessons for school children besides cartoon films. Celebrities also have been requested to come forward for the noble cause. I had talked film actor Amir Khan, he has assured to come forward,” Gadkari said.
There were adequate provisions for this in the new Bill to penalise heavily those involved in traffic violation but would check faulty driving licences, he said, adding that the government is hopes to get it passed in the next session of Parliament.
Some of the states are opposing the Bill saying that the provisions in it are against the administrative and financial rights of the state.
The Bill incorporates the global best practices and provides for the creation of a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Authority to look after all issues related to vehicle regulation and road safety.
It also seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs 3 lakh along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge fines for driving violations.