GUWAHATI, April 11 - Transport Ministers of all states will meet here next week and take up various issues concerning road safety and deliberate on framing a �National Road Safety Code� to reduce road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent in the next five years.
The two-day meeting will be held from April 18 at the Hotel Radisson Blu.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways had constituted a Group of Ministers on March 2, 2016 under the chairmanship of Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan to examine best practices in road safety and road transport sector and to suggest actionable points for implementation to reduce road accidents in India, which accounts for the highest number of road deaths globally.
The terms of reference of the GoM were to assist the National Road Safety Council in performance of the functions assigned to it, to advise the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, frame a �National Road Safety Code� with the objective to reduce fatalities and road accidents by 50 per cent by 2020, harmonise motor vehicle taxes across different states, adopt strategies for incorporating technology for assessment for driving licences, facilitate inter-state transfer of personal vehicles, adopt policy changes and implementation strategies for strengthening the state road transport undertakings and improve public transport and shared mobility services in the states to enhance customer experience and enable shift from personal transport to public transport.
The Union Road Transport & Highways Minister, at the 38th Transport Development Council meeting in Vadodara in September last, had announced an extended GoM comprising the Transport Ministers of all states, which would take up issues of concern for promoting seamless travel through the states, digitised payments, public transport system, development of bus ports and other issues involving public facilitation in state transport offices.
The Guwahati meet will be the first sitting of the extended GoM.
While framing of the �National Road Safety Code� is high on the agenda of the meeting, other issues that the GoM would take up are roadside infrastructure to improve safety of vulnerable users, capacity building in road safety, improvements in emergency trauma care facilities, standardisation of accident investigation and reporting mechanism, standardisation of the audit systems and suggest improvements in road engineering.
Deliberations would also be on issues related to inter-state reciprocal agreements, rationalisation of different taxes which are levied on motor vehicles in different states, issues relating to permits of electric vehicles and strengthening of the Bus National Permit System and Truck National Permit System.
India accounts for as high as five lakh road accidents per annum, in which 1.5 lakh people die while another 3 lakh are crippled for life.
The road accidents account for an annual loss of around Rs 60,000 crore, or 3 per cent of the GDP, to the country.