WHO DRIVES Policy ?
Patna city witnessed rapid population increase in the region in recent times. This population rise has led to increase in the number of vehicles on the road considerably. The majority section of the vehicle drivers conveniently ignores the traffic rules in the city. According to a survey conducted some time back by the Fast Dial Services Limited, about 90% of the drivers in the age group of 18 to 30 were ignorant towards the traffic rules in Patna. While in the age group of 40-60 about 55% of the drivers were ignorant towards the Zebra Crossing. The traffic jams in Patna has now become a routine part of life for the citizens of Patna.
The Bihar Social Entrepreneurs Association (BSEA) in collaboration with the Inext newspaper initiated a campaign for awareness for the vehicle drivers who violate the zebra crossing. The first campaign was conducted on July 2, 2017 at the Hartali more where many volunteers from BSEA gave roses to the drivers who violated the zebra line. The CEOs and MDs of Sanmat, TRY, DevLabs, Confluent and several other organizations which are under the banner of BSEA were present in the campaign that day. The police at the initial stage was sceptic towards this campaign but later they also became very supportive to the volunteers.
The SP traffic of Patna City took a prompt action and initiated the imposition of minimum fine of Rs. 600 for the commuters of the zebra line. The campaign continued this Sunday as well i.e. July 9, 2017 and the SP traffic himself was present to show his support for the campaign. As per the comments from Amit Kumar Choubey who is the president of BSEA, this campaign will continue till August 15, 2017. The BSEA has plans to increase the horizon of this campaign by giving roses to people who ignore the helmets and seatbelts while driving on the road.
The response from the police has showcased a example that policies can be influenced from the activities conduced at the ground. This can also be seen as a way to influence the policy as per the bottom up approach model. The commuter response can be seen that they are surprised. Several members of BSEA who were giving roses commented that several people who were given roses were questioning about the other offenders who did not had helmets on bikes. This makes clear that this campaign is helping the commuters to acknowledge the traffic rules which they keep avoiding conveniently.
The theme for this campaign is ‘Who Drives’. This is the question for which this campaign is designed to look the answer for. This idea of ‘Who Drives’ is looking at the aspect of the vehicle owners who are humans who do not leave any space for the fellow human pedestrians on the road. The other important aspect of this idea is that that this campaign is trying to drive the policies at the macro level through the grassroots intervention. With the decision of the Patna police to impose a minimum fine of Rs. 600.00 shows that a platform can be created where the policies at the state level can be influenced through the interventions at grassroots.
So now one argument is being constructed here that public policy can be derived, guided and designed by the public without much hue & cry. This is very clear example of policy making through the last person without any involvement of political groups. So Guys pull out your shocks and start working over much needed policy changes for bringing good change in life of people.
Amit Choubey (firstname.lastname@example.org) Public policy Expert and Founder of Development Think Tank organizations Sanmat.
Vineet Kashyap (email@example.com)
(Writer was a Urban Fellow at IIHS, Bangalore and is currently in the governing board of Sanmat, Patna.)