Road Safety Current Affairs

India, ADB inks $220 million Loan Agreement for Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program

The Union Government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $220 million loan agreement for improving connectivity as well as transport efficiency and safety on State Highways of Rajasthan.

The loan will be provided as the first tranche of the $500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program, approved by ADB Board in May 2017. The Program will upgrade about 2,000 kilometers of state highways and major district roads to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards to meet road safety requirements.

Key Facts

Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program aims improve State Highways and major district roads in Rajasthan. It will enhance the capacity of the State public works department (PWD) in the areas of road asset management, road safety and project management.

One of the focus areas of the program is to attract private sector financing through government capacity building on public private partnership (PPP) development. ADB will finance part of the construction costs for the annuity-based PPP concessions and engineering procurement construction (EPC) contracts. It will also enhance the stability of contract regime, and ensure good governance during project implementation.

The first tranche loan will improve about 1,000 kilometres of State Highways and major district roads. It will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 8 years. The loan will carry an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s London interbank offered rate-based (LIBOR) lending facility. The total cost of the project is $1.415 billion, of government contributing $465 million and $450 million from the private sector and other concessionaries.

About Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The ADB is a regional development bank which aims to promote social and economic development in Asia. It was established on 19 December 1966. It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.

The ADB has been modelled closely on the World Bank. It has similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions. As of 2014, Japan is the largest shareholder (capital subscription) of ADB having 15.7% shares followed US (15.6%), China (6.5%), India (6.4%), and Australia (5.8%).

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Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016: Key Provisions

The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by a voice vote to give more thrust to road safety, controlling pollution and accidents.

The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that provides for legal standards for motor vehicles, grant of driving licenses, and penalties for violation of these provisions.

Key Provisions

  • National Transportation Policy: Union government must frame National Transportation Policy, in consultation with the states.
  • Recall of vehicles: It empowers Union government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defects in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF): Mandatory for Union government to constitute Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • MVAF will be credited with cess or tax as approved by Union government, grant or loan made by Union government or any other source prescribed by Union government.
  • Care for road accident victims: Union government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.
  • It defines golden hour as the time period of up to an hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • Compensation for death: It increases the compensation for death in a hit and run case from to Rs two lakh or more from Rs 25,000, as prescribed by the Union government.
  • Protection of good samaritans: It defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at scene of an accident in good faith, voluntary and without the expectation of any reward.
  • Good samaritans will not be held liable for any criminal or civil action for any injury to or death of an accident victim. Union government may frame rules to provide for procedures for their questioning or disclosure of personal information.
  • Aggregator services: It defines an aggregator as a digital intermediary or market place and their services may be used by a passenger to connect with a driver for transportation purposes.
  • It makes mandatory for these aggregators to obtain licenses and comply with the Information Technology Act (IT), 2000.
  • Electronic services: The Bill provides for the computerization of certain services to improve delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance.
  • It enables (i) online learning licenses, (ii) increases period of driving licenses validity, (iii) Do away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses etc.
  • It also proposes Aadhar based verification for grant of online services including learner’s licence to ensure the integrity of the online services and stop creation of duplicate licences.
  • Offences and penalties: It increases the penalties for several offences under the parent Act for high risk offences like drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading, non-adherence to safety norms by drivers.
  • Offences committed Juveniles: The owner or guardian will be deemed guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles. Juvenile will be tried under JJ Act and the registration of Motor Vehicle will be cancelled.

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