New Delhi: The ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) aims to bring down the number of casualties in road mishaps by encouraging people to come forward (as good samaritans) and help road accident victims reach hospital in time so that their precious lives could be saved.
As per figures, about 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents every year in India. The ministry has taken several measures to bring down this number. However, in a large number of cases, the accident victims are not taken to hospital in time and therefore, they succumb to their injuries. There are cases when people do not come forward to help the victims fearing harassment.
Realising the problem, the MoRTH framed rules to protect those (good samaritans), who come forward to help the accident victims. Going one step forward, the ministry also announced an award scheme for good samaritans in order to encourage such people.
In October last year, MoRTH issued guidelines for the “Scheme for grant of Award to the good samaritan, who has saved life of a victim of a fatal accident involving a motor vehicle by administering immediate assistance and rushing to hospital/trauma care centre within the ‘golden hour’ of the accident to provide medical treatment”.
The scheme mainly aims to motivate the general public to help the road accident victims in emergency situation, inspire and motivate others to save innocent lives on road. It was made effective from 15 October last year.
Any individual, who has saved life of a victim of a fatal accident involving a motor vehicle by administering immediate assistance and rushing to hospital within the golden hour of the accident to provide medical treatment would be eligible for the award. An individual good samaritan can be awarded a maximum five times in a year.
The amount of award for the good samaritan(s) has been fixed at ₹5,000/- per incident. On receipt of communication from the police station/hospital, district level appraisal committee shall review and approve the proposals on a monthly basis.
The appraisal committee at the district level comprising district magistrate, senior superintendent of police (SSP), chief medical and health officer, road transport officer (RTO) of the concerned district would sanction and send the cases to the concerned state/Union Territories (UTs) transport department for making the payment to the good samaritans.
As per the scheme, MoRTH will provide ₹5 Lakh as initial grant to the transport department of the state/UT for making payment to the good samaritans. Subsequently, the ministry would reimburse the amount to the states/UTs on monthly basis.
A state level monitoring committee (SLMC) under chairmanship of principal secretary (home) having, commissioner (health) and ADGP (traffic & road safety) as members and transport commissioner as member secretary shall do quarterly meetings to monitor the proper implementation of scheme.
Every year, the SLMC of each State/UT will nominate three most worthy proposals for national level awards on yearly basis to the MoRTH for further consideration. The ministry would have an appraisal committee for this purpose and they shall review the proposals received from the states / UTs and select the best ten good samaritans of the year. They will be awarded with ₹1 lakh each along with a certificate and trophy during national road safety month (NRSM) in Delhi.
In 2020, the ministry had published relevant rules laying down the ‘rights of good samaritan’. The rules make it clear that it is the voluntary choice of the ‘good samaritan’ to disclose his/her name, identity, address or any such other personal details and no police officer or any other person shall compel a ‘good samaritan’ to do so.