“Build capacity on all fronts”: Rohit Baluja, President, IRTE

There is no other solution to issues road safety faces today apart from building a comprehensive capacity on all fronts, says Rohit Baluja, President, Institute of Road Traffic Education in an exclusive interaction with ITP

India Transport Portal: Considering the current situation of road safety in India, what are the possible solutions to the problems that the country is facing today?

Rohit Baluja: Currently, India is at the top when it comes to accidents and injuries caused by road accidents globally. In my view, there is a need to build capacity on all fronts in order to bring better measures for road safety in the country. For instance, there is a need to build capacity on the end of bureaucracy; there is a need to build capacity in bureaucrats to inform the politicians to take up the political will to bring a change in the scenario of road safety in India. Similarly, there is a need to build capacity in the field of traffic management, traffic enforcement, driver training, accident investigation, post accident management, public health and environment management. There are no solutions to the problems of this country if you don’t have the backing of enough capacity on all these fronts.

India Transport Portal: In the case of India, the growth of automobile industry is pushing the government to bring modern road safety solutions. Do you believe it is the right approach to go with?

Rohit Baluja: Ideally, what we have seen in the other major markets that first the government makes roads, then install the management solutions and eventually makes way for motorization. In the case of India, what is happening is that we have motorization already running on top gear and then we are trying to build roads but there are no management solutions that are in place. In such a scenario, how can you expect the situation to be better if we move on the same path even going ahead? As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t build capacity today, we are only digging our own grave for the coming future.

India Transport Portal: There have been instances of minimal coordination among various departments over the past that eventually became a setback for road safety in India. Do you believe there is a need to bring a high level of coordination among various departments?

Rohit Baluja: Today, people from various fields are looking to bring various changes in order to make things better for the future. However, there is no centralized route to channelize it to the government in an efficient manner. What happens in this case is that most of the proposed changes are debated at various forums but noting moves on the ground. Certainly, there is a need to bring a high level of coordination among departments but it will take its own time before it is achieved. And even to achieve that, the government needs to invest in building comprehensive capacity with a view to find optimal solutions to the problems road safety in India faces today.

Pawan Chabra