NEW DELHI: More than 75% of poor households in India, who were impacted by a road traffic crash, reported a decline in their income as a result of road accidents and nearly 42% of such households had to borrow to tide over the financial crisis, according to a World Bank report.
According to the report, women bore the maximum burden of such road crashes across the low and high income households with about 50% severely affected by the decline in their household income and nearly 40% reporting a change in their working patterns post-crash. Another 11% reported taking up extra work to deal with the financial crisis.
The report “Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society” released by Union road transport minister Nirtin Gadkari on Saturday also found that 30% of the respondents in this study from low income families in Tamil Nadu and 44% in Maharashtra sold or mortgaged their assets to tide over the income loss and the burden of debt.
The study conducted in collaboration with SaveLife Foundation, an NGO, covered 2,400 respondents from low and high income families across both urban and rural areas in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar. Most of the respondents were those whose one or more family members met with a road crash.
It has found that low income households were three times more likely to seek financial help than their high income counterparts. Debt rates were also almost three times higher among the low income households compared to high income households.
The report has also highlighted how the poor in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu fared better with a higher survivability rate of 75% compared to UP and Bihar that showed a survivability rate of 53%. This means ensuring quick access to trauma care can help the poor in a big way in saving lives in case of road crashes.
The report comes barely a few months after IIT (Delhi) and DIMTS had submitted a report on the socio-economic cost of road crashes. TOI on September 27, had first reported how the report had estimated the total loss to the tune of Rs 5.9 lakh crore annually, which is 3.1% of the country’s GDP.
While the last study took into account the loss due to death and injuries, the World Bank report has covered only the cost of crashes, which include medical expenses and loss of income. “This is an eye opening report. Simply shows how we need to work together to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths,” Gadkari said.