Return to frontpage

Walking in Indian Cities – A Daily Agony for Millions

In India's hierarchy of roadways, its millions of pedestrians are reduced to helpless trundlers. Despite the reality that they constitute the single largest component of commuters, numbering about 45 million, the country’s road networks cater more to the smaller segment of 54-lakh users of cars, jeeps or vans. Consequently, millions of these pedestrians risk their lives every day as they commute along poorly designed roads that expose them to injuries and fatalities, estimated to have cost the nation more than Rs. two lakh crores in 2020.<br/><br/> Making a persuasive case for safe, walkable cities in this article, <b>Geetam Tiwari, Professor, Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Centre, Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi</b>, points out that the major corrective required is to keep the pedestrian in mind when designing roads. This calls for a change from the current motorist-centric networks that have invisibilised the millions of walkers who are in plain sight. <br/><br/> Tiwari also throws the spotlight on inaccessible facilities for pedestrians such as Foot Over Bridges, haphazard motorisation of urban areas, downsides of grade separators, and the lack of understanding of pedestrian behaviour by policy makers. Effective interventions in planning and implementation, and active monitoring with citizen engagement are non-negotiable if India has to create safe, walkable roads that are consistent with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals relating to mobility. Some immediate measures she suggests include implementing "No Free Left Turns" in urban roads and installing roundabouts at the intersections of small towns, while long-term pedestrian-centric plans are conceptualised and put into action with the active engagement of citizens.

COVID-19: Urban Middle Class Survey Highlights Need for People’s Agency in Policy Making

Calamities throw a critical spotlight on state policies. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate, governments of the world, medical researchers, c

On Rights and Duties – Two Essays

Views of leaders occupy prominent positions in the popular narrative in any society: they set a tone for political and social discourse and play a rol

Transport as a Right and the Need to Re-Orient India's SRTUs

India's road network carries close to 90 per cent of the country's passenger traffic and about 60 per cent of its freight. This sector also includes t

A Draft Bill that Cuts Maritime States Adrift

In most developed countries, ports are managed by municipal or provincial governments, with the federal government overseeing only border control, com

Sense and Sensibilities in India’s Political Discourse

India's political discourse, which reached a national characteristic during the freedom struggle, has travelled through several phases since Independe

Food Security and Markets: Understanding the Protests over India’s Changing Social Contract with Farmers

For more than 100 days now India’s farmers have protested at the Shinghu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders outside the national capital, New Delhi. Earlie

Sewage Testing as a Pandemic Monitoring Tool

A common challenge faced by governments across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic is to identify patients affected by the virus. The two tests ado

Consumer Protection Act 2019 and Health Care Services

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (CPA), which came into effect on July 24, 2020, is expected to go a long way in serving the interests of consumers a

Pandemic Exposes Weaknesses in India’s Disaster Management Response

Disasters are testing times for institutions and individuals, processes and procedures, and policies and their implementation mechanisms. When COVID-1


<b>B.V. Acharya, Senior Advocate</b> and one of Karnataka’s eminent lawyers for several decades and five times Advocate General of the State is of the view that the investigating agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), by their conduct, should inspire confidence in the minds of the people.<br/> Acharya who has handled a string of corruption cases including some of them against chief ministers and senior political leaders is of the view that conferment of absolute and unchecked power to the police, the CBI or even the ED is dangerous since it may result in a "police state". <br/> In this interview with <b>S. Rajendran, Senior Fellow, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy</b>, 85-year-old Acharya who actively practices in the Karnataka High Court says “democracy has survived in our country mainly because of a strong and independent judiciary. However, the situation is different today”. Excerpts: