World Bank Loans India US$250 Million to Make Roads Safer
With only one percent of the world’s vehicles, India accounts for almost 10 percent of all crash related deaths. A new World Bank project, approved Friday, will help Indian states reduce road crash fatalities and injuries through improved road safety management and institutional reform, as well as interventions on high-risk roads.
Now, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved financing of US$250 million to support the Government of India’s Program for Strengthening Road Safety.
A World Bank study estimates that road crashes cost the Indian economy between five to seven percent of GDP every year.
Official government data show that each year road accidents in India kill about 150,000 people and injure another 450,000. More than half of the accident victims are pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists, and almost 84 percent of all fatalities are among road users between the ages of 18-60 years.
An important part of the World Bank project is strengthening emergency medical and rehabilitation services for post-crash care.
To reduce incidents of road crashes, the project will establish a national harmonized crash database system, the analysis of which will be used to construct better and safer roads.
To better manage post-crash events, the project will help strengthen emergency care services for road crash victims before they reach a hospital.
This will include setting up a single accident reporting number, increasing the network of basic and advanced life support ambulances, and training first responder caregivers to provide medical care to road crash victims on the spot.
With more than 70 percent of crash victims coming from poor households, these low-income households bear a high proportion of the socio-economic burden of road crashes due to loss of income, high medical expenses and limited access to social safety nets.
The project recognizes that women bear the indirect brunt of road accidents. Recognizing this challenge, the project has a special focus on gender and will promote women’s representation in management roles in the road safety sector. The project will also provide employment opportunities for women, especially in post-crash care command and control centers.
THE WORLD BANK’S INDIA ROAD SAFETY PROJECT WILL SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA’S EFFORTS TO REDUCE INCIDENTS OF ROAD CRASHES BY CREATING EFFICIENT INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS FOR SAFER ROADS, VEHICLEES, AND ENFORCEMENT IN THE COUNTRY, AND STRENGTHENING EFFORTS TO PROVIDE BETTER ON-THE-SPOT-CARE TO VICTIMS OF ROAD CRASHES.
Acting Country Director, World Bank India
"This will help in reducing the impact road crashes have, especially on the poor, and the economy and human capital," Mori said.
The India State Support Program for Road Safety, financed by the World Bank, will be implemented in the seven participating states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Road safety interventions are subject to a unique challenge in India as the management is spread across different tiers of government. This project will focus on strengthening and streamlining the management capability of the lead agencies for road safety in these states.
The project will also provide incentives to states to leverage private funding through Public Private Partnership concessions and pilot initiatives.
"The India State Road Safety Project will help the central and state governments better design, coordinate and execute road safety programs in a results-oriented approach," said Dipan Bose, Arnab Bandyopadhyay, and Suresh Kunhi Mohammed, task team leaders for the project.
They explained that the program "will drive key reforms in institutional mechanisms, road safety engineering, enforcement, and emergency care using a results-based approach."
At a National Highways Excellence Awards ceremony Wednesday in Delhi, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari expressed optimism about the state of India’s highways.
I AM CONFIDENT THAT BY 2024, THE STANDARD OF THE NATIONAL HIGHWAYS IN INDIA WILL BE THAT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Shri Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, India
And even more funding is forthcoming. In March, World Bank and the United Kingdom signed a Memo of Understanding to unlock US$1billion in guarantees to fund green infrastructure in India, which will shape the world’s climate transitions. This guarantee, the first of its kind for India, will support the country’s green growth targets.