When it comes to Uttarakhand’s development, a lot of claims are made by the Government. These may be contested by the opposition but, if one is to go by just the level of construction activity, the economy is doing fine. The state’s per capita income is also better than the national average. And, yet, the grievances of the public are many because the aspirations are not being met, particularly in terms of quality of life.
It is in this context that the exhortation of Governor Gurmit Singh in his state formation day speech that people could help make things better by making personal contributions like following the traffic rules or ensuring their surroundings are clean is very relevant. This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach of getting citizens to take responsibility, even as they benefit from being citizens of the country.
Owing to India’s diversity, the people are more inclined to be individualistic as compared to those of nations with greater homogeneity, who tend to conform more. For Indians to work together for a common cause, the goals have to be clearly defined and found acceptable.
The request that people follow the traffic rules may seem simplistic but, by doing so, ordinary people can make an enormous difference. Even looked at cold-bloodedly, the detrimental impact of road accidents and fatalities is very high on the state’s GDP. This is apart from the calamitous affect on families of the victims. It should be understood by all that being disciplined on the roads actually contributes tremendously to the economy and overall development. Merely having smooth flow of traffic in the otherwise congested cities ensures considerable savings in terms of time and fuel.
People may ask, however, what are the traffic rules in the complex and changing environment on India’s roads? This is where experts have to pitch in with simple explanatory booklets that describe what needs to be done in specific situations. Most people who have driving licences haven’t a clue about the rules and driving practices. The test taken at the RTO’s office is completely outdated. Also, there is cautionary behaviour that needs to be learned – such as recognising the body language of a cyclist about to change lanes without looking back; or, getting irresponsible parents transporting their toddlers on two-wheelers to school and elsewhere to behave responsibly.
So, it is not a simple task. If the people of the state just resolve for even a month to adapt their behaviour to match the Governor’s request, a better Uttarakhand will certainly result.