From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Good Samaritan Scheme
Mains level : Road safety issues in India
The Good Samaritan scheme, meant to encourage and felicitate those helping road accident victims, has received a poor response from the states more than a month since its launch.
Good Samaritan Scheme
- The Road Transport and Highways Ministry announced this scheme so that taking a road crash victim to hospital is not just hassle-free but there is also the incentive of a reward and recognition.
- Historically, Indians are reluctant in taking victims to hospital because of associated legal processes and investigations that follow.
- To address that, the Centre inserted Section 134A in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which deals with “Protection of Good Samaritans”.
Need for such scheme
- India witnesses around 5 lakh road accidents and 1.5 lakh deaths from them every year.
- As per several government assessments and independent studies, a large number of deaths occur because the victims did not get medical help within the golden hour.
Key features of the scheme
- Non-liability: Under the scheme, a good samaritan will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of the victim of an accident involving a motor vehicle.
- Reward: The scheme entitles any person, who helps save a life by taking a road crash victim to the hospital during golden hour, to a reward of Rs 5,000 per accident.
- Anonymity clause: The new law is that the “Good Samaritan” is free to not disclose their name to the hospital or law enforcement authorities; they can also choose not to take part in any legal process.
Issues with the scheme
Ans. Poor response from the states
- Despite the Centre willing to give an initial grant of Rs 5 lakh for it, states have not even opened bank accounts to get the money.
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has sent several reminders to states to operationalize the scheme.