Crowd Management in India

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Source-This post on Crowd Management in India has been created based on the article “Let’s step up investment in the wisdom of crowds” published in “LiveMint” on 5 July 2024.

UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-3- Disaster and Disaster Management.

Context– The article discusses a crowd crush near Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, where over 120 lives were lost during a religious gathering that attracted far more attendees than authorized by local authorities. These events highlight the dangers of overcrowding and sudden surges in large gatherings.

However, the risk of crowd incidents is not limited to religious gatherings. Similar tragedies could occur in crowded venues like rock concerts. Hence, crowd safety is a concern that applies universally.

Read More- Stampede Disaster and its Management in India

What are the reasons for worsening crowd risk in India?

a) Population Density and Urbanization– India’s population density, at 473 persons per square kilometer according to 2021 World Bank data, challenges the misconception that overpopulation is solely responsible for crowding. It highlights the problems of uneven population distribution and urban concentration.

b) Cultural Aspects of Crowding- Indians are accustomed to overcrowding.This is evident in tight queues, cramped public transport, and packed elevators even in upscale buildings. Further, the practice of social distancing as witnessed during Covid-19 has largely faded away

What should be the way forward?

1) Crowd Management Strategies-The existence of crowd control guides, such as those provided by the National Disaster Management Authority, should be used to highlight the importance of well-planned events with clearly assigned roles.

2) Public Awareness and Behavior Modification- There is a need to revive and improve pandemic-era messaging using eye-catching posters with witty content to promote safe behavior.

3) Individual and Collective Responsibility-There is a need to highlight the importance of people assuming responsibility for collective well-being.

4) Nurturing Common Sense in Crowds– Crowds do possess common sense. However, this should be harnessed through proper guidance and education to prevent tragic incidents.

Question for practice

What are the factors contributing to increased crowd risks in India? How can we address this moving forward?

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