Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, MoRTH said the carmakers are deliberately downgrading the safety standards in the country and asked them to end such practices.
The Ministry of Road Transport And Highways (MoRTH) with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) hosted a virtual seminar for discussing the implementation of vehicle location tracking devices to enhance road safety in India. Addressing the seminar as the Chief Guest, Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, MoRTH expressed concern over reports that carmakers are selling vehicles with downgraded safety standards in India. According to a report from PTI, he said that carmakers are deliberately downgrading the safety standards in the country and asked them to end such practices.
During the seminar, he also said that only a few manufacturers have adopted vehicle safety rating system. And, they too used the system on their high-end models. As per PTI report, MoRTH Secretary said, “I am deeply perturbed by some news items that Indian models are purposefully downgraded by auto manufacturers’ safety standards in India. This practise needs to be stopped.”
As vehicles play an important role in road safety, Aramane stated, “Auto manufacturers could not spare any efforts in offering the best quality vehicle in India and it is unpardonable that few of them are downgrading to sell in India.”
Further suggesting that all automakers should get safety ratings for their vehicles, as it will ensure that the buyers are aware of what they are purchasing and what its implications are. Over the last couple of years, Global NCAP has found in various tests that some models sold in the country were made with poor safety ratings over the export version, particularly sold in the developed markets, he said.
Giving an example of accident deaths in India, he said that the US reported around 36,560 deaths in 2018 is around 45 lakh accidents. While India recorded 1.5 lakh deaths in 4.5 lakh road accidents. He further elaborated by stating the number of accidents in India is ten times lesser than the US, but the rate of death is around five times more than the latter, despite slower cars and slower roads. Citing an example of Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin who invented three-point seat belt, he also urged automobile manufacturers to share patents if it is in the area of safety.
He said, “The reason why the seat belt is adopted so quickly is that Volvo shared the patent and Mr Bolin also shared the patent for all part manufacturers to be used in their design. The significance of such measures shall not be lost on auto industry majors working in India.”
He further stated that these technological measures will only bring in higher vehicular safety and lesser deaths on roads of India. He further elaborated various steps taken by the government for implementing safety regulations to improve road safety and reduce fatalities. He mentioned that the centre is in the process of notifying a scheme of emergency care and cashless treatment for accident victims wherein vehicle location tracking (VLT) will be an integral part of such a scheme.
He said, “Auto manufacturers can also provide emergency care in vehicular systems. “We have already mandated the establishment of data centres in all states and UTs so that the messages can be received at control centres and emergency care be dispatched to the location of the vehicle. VLT system is an important issue right now that the government of India is considering for incorporation in all the vehicles.”