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Road crash: Over 75% of poor households saw their income decline, says World Bank Report

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 13, 2021

The study shows that the income decline for low-income rural households (56 per cent) was the most severe compared to low-income urban (29.5 per cent) and high-income rural households (39.5 per cent).

Poor households are more hit compared to the rich ones post road traffic crash, reveals a new World Bank study.

More than 75 percent of surveyed poor households in India reported a decline in their income as a result of a road traffic crash.

The financial loss for the poor amounted to more than seven months household income, while it was equivalent to less than one month’s household income for the rich households, the report added.

The report shows that the income decline for low-income rural households (56 per cent) was the most severe compared to low-income urban (29.5 per cent) and high-income rural households (39.5 per cent).

The study Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society -- done in collaboration with SaveLIFE Foundation – a non-governmental organisation focused on road safety, is based on survey data collected from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Based on a survey with 2499 respondents, the research assesses the social, financial, gender, and psychological impacts of road crashes on poor and disadvantaged households.

Findings

Deaths after a crash is higher among victims from Low Income Households (poor) than High Income Households (rich households). “As high as 44 per cent of the households in rural areas reported at least one death after a road crash compared to 11.6 per cent of households in urban areas. Similarly, poor reported twice the numbers of deaths post-crash vis-à-vis the rich. Victims from poor households and rural areas are also twice more likely to suffer a disability after a crash than their rich counterparts,” stated the report.

Terming the report an “eye-opener”, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways and MSME said that the Ministry will take the issue forward with the Finance Ministry, and other stakeholders to bring forth systems that can address the challenge of making post-road crash benefits accessible to poor in particular. This could be done by linking some of the existing social schemes as well, he said.

The report recommends making health infrastructure and coverage more accessible and inclusive; providing social security net for crash victims from low-income households through state support; creating an accessible legal framework for availing insurance and compensation for road crash victims; recognizing the gender impact of road crashes and addressing it through participative governance and special schemes for women; and strengthening post-crash support for children and young adults through state support.

The report highlighted that Inequality in insurance coverage and delay in accessing compensation mars the quick recovery process for the poor. Poor awareness of legal compensation among poor compounds their distress. Less than a quarter of the poor victims were aware of the compensation process and insurance clauses; just a handful of the victims availed of government compensation or ex-gratia, said the report.

Low rates of insurance coverage and poor awareness related to legal compensation processes among truck drivers. Only a fifth and two-fifths of truck drivers surveyed were covered under medical insurance and life insurance respectively at the time of the crash. Overall, two-thirds of truck drivers were not aware of third-party liability insurance. None of the drivers had applied/benefited from cashless treatment at the hospitals, Solatium Fund for hit and run case or ex-gratia schemes.

In addition to the financial losses, the report highlights the social impact of road traffic injuries. About 64 percent of low-income households reported a deterioration in their standard of living (more than twice reported by high-income households), while more than 50 per cent reported mental depression post-crash.

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Published on February 13, 2021
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