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.
In a first, the Department of Home Science, Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidayalam (Women’s University) Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, recently organized an international webinar on “Nutrition and Immune System Support during COVID-19 Pandemic”. Speakers included eminent national and internationa
Even as Unlock enters the second phase, the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise to record levels and India remains No 4 in the worldwide list, yet there is glimmer of hope: its recovery rate is also rising in tandem. There are 1,27,864 recovered cases more than the active Covid-1
A long-debated idea is finally coming to fruition as the Indian railways has decided to join hands with the private sector, in running some train services to begin with. The ministry of railways has invited ‘request for qualifications’ (RFQ) for private participation for operatio
Democracy in India is now taken for a fact, with an unstated assumption that all our institutions are democratic and hence often our successes and more often failures are attributed to ‘democracy’. However, a key frontier where democracy remains a challenge is that of local governments and that
India, facing China’s aggressiveness at border, has banned 59 smartphone apps, including TikTok, as they were indulging in activities harmful to India’s sovereignty and integrity. The reason cited was: “in view of information available they are engaged in activities which [
The launch of India’s first human space mission, ‘Gaganyaan’, will not be affected by Covid-19 and preparations are going on in the right direction even amid the pandemic. This was disclosed by minister of state (independent charge) development of north eastern region (DoNE