LOAN POLICIES & ACCIDENTS DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR
The accidents on the roads are mainly, if not exclusively, (apart from many other causes), due to excessive number of vehicles on the roads. This excessive number is due to increase in demand of small vehicles and two wheelers. This is due to 1) inadequate production and promotion of vehicles of mass transport such as buses, 2) Artificial creation of felt status need 3) Aggressive marketing 4) excessive production and supply of private cars, auto-rickshaws and two wheelers and 5) Easily available low interest (easily affordable for a certain class of people) loans for purchase of private cars, rickshaws and two wheelers.
Ideally the government should have proper policies, rules and regulations for rectification of this aberration, in terms of excessive production. In addition, the government should also make it mandatory for the banks to give substantially lower interest loans for the purchase of buses as compared to and in preference to private cars, rickshaws and two wheelers. But even if government fails to do so, the banks can volunteer and take initiative and lead; to provide substantially lower interest loans for purchases of buses as compared to and in preference to the loans for cars, rickshaws and two wheelers. This can have some rectifying influence in terms of preferential purchase of
buses and running public undertakings and businesses of mass (bus) transport. The persons in the money lending sectors such as banks, and especially those in decision making position, have to realize that their concern for the prevention or reduction in the number and severity of road accidents can be effectively expressed to the satisfaction of their conscience, through such a bank policy and its implementation. This is because even though, this measure obviously can not prevent the road accidents completely, it would certainly tackle one of the major causes of road accidents, viz. easy financing and thereby unabated increase in the number of vehicles on the roads. This would surely reduce the number and severity of accidents.
This point certainly does not undermine the importance of the individual precautions. But it is important to realize that this measure is not merely complementary to all the precautions the car owners, drivers, pedestrians and the traffic police should take, but its impact, like that of any accurate decision, is far more effective, widespread and on massive scale than any individual or institutional precautions, taken in isolation.