Gadkari can follow up on the bold move with pragmatic persuasion
GN Bureau | September 12, 2019
When close to five lakh people are killed in road accidents every year in India, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari should have been complimented on his not-so-populist move to impose higher fines for traffic violations. Instead, many people are unhappy and several states – mostly ruled by the BJP itself – are cutting down the fines in no time.
Last month, Gadkari increased the fines for various traffic rule violations by up to ten times. The matter falls in the concurrent list, and the state has an equal say. Gadkari, in an interview with NDTV on Wednesday, seemed to be washing his hands of the controversy, saying, “Jisko karna hai kare, na karna na kare (the states who want to enforce it, can do it. Those who don't want to, need not.” He was adamant on the need for stricter penalties: “To those states who are refusing to enforce the fines, isn't life more important than money? This was done to save lives… People need to have a fear of law.”
His remarks came after Gujarat, the prime minister’s home state and the ruling party’s model state, stepped back in the face of people’s complaints and reduced the new traffic fines by up to 90 percent. While several other states like the BJP-ruled Uttarakhand have also rolled back the move, and several opposition-ruled states like West Bengal have outright refused to implement it, Delhi, governed by the AAP, has not only imposed the new fines but maintained that it won’t review the decision.
The steep hike in the fines came after both houses of parliament in August passed the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act, steered by Gadkari’s ministry. However, a popular consensus on the move has been missing. Instead of the ‘nudge’ – seen in several reform measures of the government – this move seemed an imposition from above without consultation.
While the intentions behind the move are beyond criticism, it is now up to the government and the states to create a dialogue with people and resist short-cut solutions. At the same time, in cases where the fines are prohibitively high, the centre should take lead in pragmatically review it and bring it down to an optimum level.
The launch of the Gati Shakti master plan will be a booster dose for India growth story. The plan, as the name indicates, will ensure Gati, i.e., speed and Shakti, i.e., empowerment to the ₹1 trillion national infrastructure pipeline. The plan will break inter-ministerial silos. For examp
Hitting back at the central government in a strongly worded attack, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has said Bhartiya Janata Party is misusing central investigative agencies for political benefits. “Central agencies including ED, CBI and NCB are being used for polit
OPERATION TROJAN HORSE By D.P. Sinha and Abhishek Sharan Paperback | Rs 399 | 372 pages Espionage thrillers closely resembling tomorrow’s headlines are finally coming up in India too. Here is a striking new thriller inspired by true events and th
Since 2013, in a holistic, 360-degree model of community development Swades Foundation has reached out to 2,700 hamlets and villages across Raigad and Nashik districts in Maharashtra. Applying the same principles during Covid-19 Swades along with district administrations has been rebuilding communities
Kalidasa’s Meghaduta: The Cloud Messenger Translated by Abhay K. Bloomsbury / 114 pages / Rs 399 ‘Meghduta’, a ‘messenger-poem’ of about 110 stanzas, is among the most precious jewels of Sanskrit literature, a cla
This year during the second wave of Covid-19, an unprecedented ‘oxygen shortage’ crisis gripped the national capital and several other parts of the country. A similar situation is brewing in respect of the ‘power’ situation in the national capital and the rest of the country too. Ho