Road Safety Current Affairs - 2020

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NHAI launches countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign and distribution of spectacles for truck drivers, cleaners and helpers.

It was launched by Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari at Panjari Toll Plaza, Nagpur Bypass, Nagpur in Maharashtra.

Eyesight is basic requirement for safe driving. Poor vision increases risk of collisions due to the driver’s inability to recognise and react in time to hazard or behaviour of other road users.

Key Facts

The objective of this initiative is to ensure clearer vision and safe travel for truck drivers who are most frequent users of national highways. Under it, 50 free eye check-up camps will be set up on identified national highways on either side.  The camps will be manned by eye specialist and support staff volunteers.

The cleaners can avail of this facility on condition of producing valid driving license. These camps will distribute free spectacles up to certain power as prescribed by eye specialist. Moreover, other eye defects like cataract will be also identified and medicines will be prescribed. NHAI has roped in Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, social enterprises and private businesses for facilitating provision of these facilities.

It is one of many innovative programmes undertaken by NHAI to ensure safe travel along national highways. This initiative is expected to reduce number of accidents involving trucks and encourage regional staff and NGOs to set up such camps on regular basis.

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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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