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The Hindu Editorial

20-November-2023

1. Steering road safety in India back onto the right lane.

Topic: GS3 – Road safety in India

Opportunity and Growth:

  • India’s roads symbolize an opportunity for connectivity, transport, and travel, reflecting the nation’s modernization and economic progress.
  • They involve significant players such as helmet producers, car manufacturers, big tech, and substantial road investments.

Alarming Road Safety Statistics:

  • Approximately 300,000 people are estimated to be killed in road accidents in India annually, equivalent to over 34 people every hour.
  • The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that this is a conservative estimate, with many more sustaining life-altering injuries.
  • The economic toll of road crashes in India is estimated to be between 5% and 7% of the national GDP.

Global Road Safety Issue:

  • Road safety is a global problem, with 1.3 million annual road crash fatalities worldwide.
  • India accounts for almost one in every four road deaths globally, emphasizing the severity of the issue.

Government Report on Fatalities:

  • The government’s recent report indicates that 2022 was the most fatal year for traffic crashes in India.

Focus Areas for Safety Improvement:

  • Enforcing seatbelt use for both drivers and passengers, with a significant reduction in the risk of death and injuries.
  • Strict enforcement of helmet use for motorcyclists and passengers, leading to a substantial reduction in fatal injuries.
  • Vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, account for a large portion of road deaths, necessitating focused attention.
  • Emphasis on reducing speeding, as it contributed to 70% of road crash deaths in India. Zero tolerance for drink-driving to enhance overall road safety.

Infrastructure Enhancement and Public Awareness:

  • Improvement of road infrastructure to ensure safer conditions. Large-scale public awareness campaigns, such as the UN’s #MakeASafetyStatement, involving international celebrities, to drive behavioral changes.

International Collaboration and Best Practices:

  • Adoption of international best practices tailored to India’s specific needs and circumstances.
  • Collaboration with various stakeholders, including the private sector, for a holistic approach to road safety.

Positive Steps in India:

  • Implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, by the national government.
  • Enhanced data collection from road crashes to understand patterns and inform preventive measures.

Complex Challenge with Profound Benefits:

  • Road safety is a complex, multi-dimensional challenge.
  • The UN’s Second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and the full implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, are crucial for addressing the issue comprehensively.

Ending the Silent Pandemic:

  • Addressing road injuries not only saves lives but also strengthens the economy and improves overall quality of life for everyone.

Question: Discuss the challenges and opportunities in addressing road safety in India, considering the alarming statistics of road accidents, economic implications, and the need for comprehensive interventions.

2. Making public education inclusive

Topic: GS3 – public education

Context:

  • Study by IIM Ahmedabad’s Right to Education Resource Center reveals a lack of trust in government schools due to poor quality, leading parents to prefer private schools despite higher costs.

 

Revolutionary Reforms by Odisha Government:

  • Odisha’s reforms: OAVs offer English-medium education, ranking fifth-best in government day schools.
  • Inclusive model: OAVs ensure representation for marginalized groups, with higher female enrollment.
  • Coaching facilities: OAVs help students crack national-level tests, with 24 NEET successes.
  • Alumni Connect: ‘Mo School Abhiyan’ mobilizes alumni, School Adoption Programme raises ₹797 crore.
  • 5T-High School Transformation: 6,872 high schools transformed with ₹3,411 crore focus on tech, sports, and inclusivity.
  • Shift in enrollment: Private school enrollment drops; 81% of students now in government schools.

Note: information can be used as a case study for mains answer enrichment.

3. Governors rejecting Bills without cause undermines parliamentary democracy.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Context:

  • Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi’s refusal to give assent to Bills related to universities seen as constitutional tyranny.
  • Viewed as an abuse of the power granted by the Constitution to approve or reject Bills passed by the legislature.

Issues with governors rejecting bills without cause:

  • Constitutional Imbalance: Governors rejecting bills without cause creates an imbalance in the constitutional framework.
  • Executive Overreach: Excessive vetoing by governors viewed as an overreach of executive authority.
  • Partisan Influence: Suspicions of political motivations behind rejections raise concerns about partisan influence.
  • Legislative Helplessness: Lack of constitutional remedy leaves the legislative body helpless when bills are rejected.
  • Uncertain Statutory Position: Ambiguity in the statutory process after a governor withholds assent creates uncertainty.
  • Democratic Concerns: Raises democratic concerns as governors, being unelected, wield significant legislative power.
  • Federalism Challenges: Highlights challenges to federalism by giving unchecked power to governors over state legislation.
  • Judicial Intervention Needed: Urgent need for judicial clarification on the impact of governors rejecting bills without cause.

Question: Examine the constitutional challenges and democratic implications associated with governors rejecting bills without cause in India.

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