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Recognizing Altruism- Good Samaritan Laws

Recognizing Altruism- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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Recognizing Altruism- Background

  • Recently, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways took an initiative to award Good Samaritans who save the lives of road accident victims with a cash prize.
  • This is a welcome attempt to reduce India’s staggering annual death toll from mishaps.

Peace at the Heart of Education


Recognizing Altruism- Road Accidents in India

  • Global comparison: India ranks third among 20 nations that have the highest number of accidents.
    • India fares far worse on an important metric- cases to fatalities ratio- compared to the U.S. and Japan, which have more recorded crashes but fewer deaths.
  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data: Even during COVID-19 led severely disrupted mobility period, 1,33,715 lives were lost in 1,20,716 cases attributed to negligence relating to road accidents.

Social and Emotional Learning- Empathy Through Education


Recognizing Altruism- Good Samaritan Laws in India

  • Motor Vehicles law and Good Samaritans:
    • Under it, a Good Samaritan voluntarily helps an accident victim with no expectation of payment or reward.
    • Under the law, the good Samaritans have no legal obligation to record his involvement or aid the investigation in the case.
    • Last year, a chapter was added in the Act through an amendment, to sensitize police forces and hospitals on good Samaritans.
  • National Road Safety Board: Government recently notified National Road Safety Board.
    • Mandate: to formulate standards on, among other things, safety and trauma management, to build capacity among traffic police, and put the crash investigation on a scientific footing.
  • Associated Challenges: Even after the amendment last year in the Act, altruism is still affected by the perception of harassment and legal complications.

Bureaucracy’s Digital Challenge


Recognizing Altruism- Good Samaritan plan of the Road Transport Ministry

  • About: It will reward socially-minded individuals who offer immediate assistance and rush a victim with certain kinds of injuries to the hospital, with ₹5,000 and a certificate of recognition for saving a life.
  • Funding: State governments are responsible for the plan, with the Centre providing an initial grant, but the Union Transport Ministry will give its own award of ₹1 lakh each to the 10 best Good Samaritans in a year.

With a Bang- IMD’s Rainfall Forecasting Model


Way Forward

  • Government should start with scientific road design and standards, and zero-tolerance enforcement for violations.
  • Good Samaritan Plan: It should be implemented with the goal to reduce accidents and the ratio of deaths and injuries to cases.
    • Eliminating the bureaucratic barriers: District Committees tasked with awarding good Samaritans should readily recognize their contribution, aided by the police, hospitals, and RTOs.



  • Many more people will continue to be impelled by sheer altruism to help road users involved in a crash, and governments should get bureaucratic barriers out of their way.

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