The symposium took place on Saturday 29 August 2020, co-presented by La Trobe University and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Kanpur and was part of events to mark the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Professor Aniruddha Desai (La Trobe University) and Professor Abhay Karandikar, Director (IIT Kanpur) provided the official welcome and opening. The symposium was grouped into three key themes: Justice System and Policing; Personal, Social and Community Issues, Responsibilities and Impacts; and Governance, Innovation and Solutions.
Co convenors Dr Julie Rudner (La Trobe University) and Professor Murali Prasad Panta (IIT Kanpur) pulled together an impressive line-up of nine presenters (three female and six male) from India, Australia and USA representing four academic institutions, three different government departments and two from industry. Five fields of knowledge were covered: justice, policing, health, social sciences, engineering, business.
Over 115 people from India, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK and USA attended at least one presentation.
Each presenter contributed a unique perspective on the complex issues of addressing alcohol and road crashes. It was a formidable task, but together, they elucidated Gandhian principles, values and beliefs about prohibition and temperance to provide the rationale for limiting exposure, consumption and impacts of drinking.
The symposium demonstrated the importance of Academic- Industry-Government partnerships in addressing this issue, as well as the necessity of including multiple fields of knowledge to provide much needed insights about issues of governance, regulation, design, education, attitudes and behaviours.
Justice A M Sapre, recently appointed Chairman of the Road Safety Commission (India), was enthusiastic with his praise at the conclusion of the symposium. “I am hearing all the panelists and I am really so happy and so impressed by every presentation that I have no suitable words to express my gratitude to you…. Your caliber is astonishing to me! … I used to do everything after the accident took place. This is the first time I am aware of the pre accident period. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this event. Thank you very much!”
He requested copies of each presentation be provided to him so he can share with the Road Safety Commission and use in awareness programs and implementation of policies.
The symposium was recorded and can be viewed online. More details about the presentations and how to view them are available here (go to 'Recent Activity' tab).
This event would not have been possible without the funding provided by the Indian Government through the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC ) project (No. 1442) entitled “Socio-economic costs of Road Crashes – the Role of ex-ante and ex-post policies”, Professor Murali Prasad Panta (PI) with Professor Praveen Kulshreshtha at the Department of Economic Sciences and Professor Vinay Namboodiri, Department of Cmputer Science Engineering, (Co-PIs), IIT Kanpur, and Professor Anirudha Desai (International Principal Collaborator) Dr Shuo Ding (Co-PI) at La Trobe University, Australia. In addition, Dr Julie Rudner, at La Trobe University and K.S. Venkatesh, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Kanpur have joined the team.