New Delhi, Delhi, India
In a bid to educate consumers about the importance of car safety and how to ensure it, Consumer VOICE, leading voluntary organization in interest of consumers, organized a national campaign on the growing issue. Over the past 1 month, the organization has been working with some key consumer groups to raise awareness on the issue to catalyze change at the ground level and bridge the gap of awareness in the way people buy cars. The pan-India campaign has been initiated across 15 states – from Jammu and Himachal Pradesh to Assam and Odisha – reaching out to over 5000 consumers.
These consumer empowerment events were initiated with a film and photo-series highlighting the plight of 6 crash victims who lost family members due to the state of vehicle safety. The discussion was supplemented by a workshop, including a detailed presentation and expert interactions in all 15 states.
Throwing some light on the alarming figures on road traffic crashes, Mr. Ashim Sanyal, COO, Consumer VOICE, said, “As per Indian Government figures, approximately 146,133 people were killed in road accidents in 2015 alone – averaging an alarming 1,374 crashes per day. Apart from reckless driving, a crucial component to road safety is safer vehicles on our roads. The worrisome part is that, despite being the world’s 4th largest automobile market, almost 60% of the cars sold in India aren’t equipped with basic safety features such as airbags and ABS, which can protect lives of car occupants in a crash.”
Sanyal further elaborated on the issue of safer cars as informed that 5 rather popular Indian cars received a zero-star rating in GNCAP results. The prevalence of zero-rated cars being bought and sold in India is a cause of concern often overlooked.
Most developed nations have strong government legislation prohibiting cars not meeting basic safety standards to be put on the roads, but these cars find their way too easily into the Indian market. Base models of popular cars in India are almost certain death traps in the incidence of a collision. The Indian government introduced the Bharat New Vehicle Assessment Programme (BNVSAP) in 2008, commissioning test facilities, prescribing mandatory basic safety features and regulating car occupant protection – which are planned to be voluntary from October, 2017 and mandatory by October, 2020.
These efforts by Consumer VOICE are a part of a larger global effort by consumer group federation Consumers International, which has led efforts across Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in India, and other developing nations such as Brazil.
About Consumer VOICE
Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education (VOICE) is an Indian consumer awareness and education organisation, working across 25 states in India from the past 33 years. Apart from consumer advocacy and conducting scientific testing of products and services for consumer interest under government grants, VOICE works with various central Ministries & departments on various projects. They also run a monthly print & online magazine for consumer empowerment called ‘Consumer VOICE’. VOICE also works with underprivileged sections of the Indian society on empowerment initiatives like Financial Literacy, Internet Safety, Road Safety, Tobacco Control, Food Fortification etc.
About Ashim Sanyal
Mr. Ashim Sanyal is the Chief Operating Officer & Secretary of Consumer VOICE for the past 9 years, responsible for the NGO’s strategic success and overall operations. Prior to heading VOICE, he has worked for 25 years with reputed global and Indian companies in senior executive roles. He is a full member of Consumers International and International Consumer Research Testing, besides managing relations with ISO, COPOLCO, WHO, CODEX, UNIDO, Climate Works Foundation, Eco Asia, CLASP, REEP, GRSP, TFK, UNDP etc. Individually, he also manages work with Ministries like Consumer Affairs, Food, Health, Food Processing, Corporate affairs, DoT, HRD etc. besides representing VOICE in standardization bodies like BIS, BEE, QCI, STQC etc. Also he represents Consumer VOICE in Regulatory bodies like FSSAI, TRAI, SEBI, RBI, IRDA, AERA etc.