A parliamentary panel reviewing the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, may recommend stricter punishment for those involved in hit-and-run accident cases in the country that witnessed 17 deaths and 55 road accidents every hour in 2016, one of the highest in the world. The joint panel for the bill met on Tuesday to prepare its draft report and some members raised the issue of hit-and-run cases, saying such a crime should attract more stringent penal provisions. Members like Naresh Gujral (SAD) said that hit-and-run case cannot have the same penalty as rash or negligent driving. “In the former case, the culprit tries to run away from the crime spot,” Gujral told the panel.The bill proposes Rs 5,000 and jail term for hit-and-run cases, which is the same penalty for rash or negligent driving. A report released by the Union road transport and highways ministry in September said road accidents killed 150,785 people across India in 2016 — a 3.3% jump from 2015 when 146,000 lakh road fatalities were reported — indicating Indian roads continue to be one of the deadliest in the world.According to a World Bank estimate, road accidents cost India about 3% of its gross domestic product every year.In the proposed law, which aims to prohibit violations of traffic rules by imposing stricter deterrents, violators will have to cough up almost 10 times more than what they pay now for overspeeding and drunk driving. The maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. The bill, pending since the UPA regime, was cleared by the Lok Sabha in April 2017 with some amendments.The government added amendments to specify that a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund will be created and utilised for treatment of people injured in road accidents, compensation to the family of a person killed in a hit and run accident and compensation to a those grievously hurt in a hit and run case.The bill proposes hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail terms for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents, a ten-fold increase in compensation for families of accident victims, and check bogus licences and vehicle theft.The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha last August and was referred to a parliamentary standing committee, whose suggestions have been endorsed by the Union cabinet.