Road Safety Legislation and Multi-sectoral Action

Policy Dialogue and Technical Consultation

19-20 December 2018, New Delhi

A technical consultation and a policy dialogue on road safety legislation and enforcement, was organized on 19-20 December 2018 at New Delhi. The consultation was a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, NITI Aayog and WHO Country Office for India. It brought together a wide spectrum of key stakeholders representing the government, civil society organisations, international development partners, the legal and the media fraternities to set national road safety targets, develop an action plan, and put an impetus to the passage of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2017.

Among the prominent dignitaries present at the event were Dr A K Gadpayle, Additional Director General, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) ; Dr Anil Manaktala, DDG, Directorate General of Health Servicess; Dr Tanu Jain, ADG, MoHFW; Dr. Pankaj Mittal, Additional Secretary, University Grants Commission; Dr Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice, , Dr. Suresh K Mohammed, Senior Health Specialist, The World Bank, and Dr. Fikru Tullu, Team Lead, NCDs, WHO Country Office for India.

Dr A K Gadpayle in his key note address shared that the there is a paradigm shift in the policy with focus on providing community level care. He stated that the ministry is strengthening pre-hospital care through training and infrastructure upgradation to improve the quality and timeliness of the health care provided to the victims.

“Working together through collaboration to address common challenges and by sharing knowledge is the only way out to achieve this and we must stand committed to make road-safety a priority,” he added.

Dr. Fikru Tullu in his opening remarks talked about effective road safety interventions that would involve incorporating road safety features into land-use, urban and transport planning; designing safer roads and improving the safety features of vehicles. He emphasized the need to work out a mechanism that allows learning from one another, complementing each other’s efforts and aligning programs and interventions through coordination with all stakeholders.

Mr. Ramandeep Chaudhary, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in his inaugural address opined the need for coordination amongst key stakeholders such as the Department of Health and Education. Collaborative efforts are effective, cover a wide gamut of perspectives of different stakeholders and address the issue of road safety holistically.

“The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has mandated the setting up of a road safety council at the state level. Audit of existing national highways is being undertaken and road safety audit of all highways is made compulsory by the ministry,” he further added.

Dr. Pramod Seth, Joint Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities shared his views regarding the need for policy-level interventions to address the specific needs of the disabled. He remarked that physical, educational, and economic rehabilitation must be a policy level priority.

“Skill development of disabled is an important intervention that can help in sustaining the livelihoods of victims and in this regard Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has empaneled as many as 258 partners across the country to facilitate skill development training,” he added.

Dr. Pankaj Mittal, Additional Secretary, University Grants Commission, Ministry of Human Resources Development opined that anger management and stress management, and emphasis on universal human values must be a part of the curriculum to sensitize the youth. She emphasized the importance of creating Information, education, and communication (IEC) tools to create awareness. In this regard, video modules on road safety in line with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) initiative of the government will be produced and uploaded on SWAYAM platform for wider outreach and dissemination.

“Education sector must further strengthen its research initiatives in the area of road safety to help inform appropriate policy decisions,” she added.

Dr. S Rajesh, Director Health, Niti Aayog mentioned that multi-sectoral comprehensive action and integration of health facilities with the nearest primary and secondary health centers, especially in the context of rural India is required for strengthening response system. “In this regard, Niti Aayog is undertaking a series of actions such as National Strategy on Integrated Trauma, Effectiveness of Resources, and Institutional efficiency of resource use,” he mentioned.

Dr. Suresh K Mohammed, Senior Health Specialist, The World Bank in his special address raised the importance of treating road safety as a major priority and mainstreaming it in the national development agenda. “It’s time to strengthen the health care response and take initiatives to mitigate the impact of road casualties”, he added.

He also shared the importance of developing a comprehensive data system as it can be immensely helpful in strengthening the health care response and effective utilization of the resources.

There was a unanimous agreement amongst the participants on some of the key aspects of road safety vis-à-vis knowledge sharing, development of educational material, coordination of the key stakeholders and mainstreaming of efforts across all the key sectors.

Training of first-aid centers, upgrading district hospitals to medical colleges, affordable trauma care, cashless treatment for the first 48 hours, sharing of best practices, knowledge sharing and development of knowledge products to create awareness and an enabling environment to promote road safety were some of the important takeaways of the consultation.

The sessions were facilitated by sectoral experts and provided a holistic perspective on road safety issues. Specifically, the workshop covered key issues through technical sessions on: injury surveillance trauma registry, web- enabled information platform for injury surveillance, and the scope and priorities for integration with IHIP. While the group work focused on providing a strategic framework, stakeholder mapping, national road safety targets and monitoring framework and performance indicators. The overall focus was on advocacy and multi-sectoral comprehensive response built around a safe systems approach.