New vehicle scrappage policy

MAR 25

Mains   > Environment & Ecology   >   Pollution   >   Hazardous waste

IN NEWS:

  • The central government recently announced the long-awaited vehicle scrappage policy.

BACKGROUND:

  • A vehicle scrappage policy was initially announced by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2021-22.
  • The fleet modernisation programme of the government aims to achieve multiple goals like reduction in air pollution, the fulfilment of India's climate commitments, improving road and vehicle safety, better fuel efficiency, and boosting the availability of low-cost raw materials for auto, steel and electronics industry.

 

FEATURES:

                                                  

  • Mandatory fitness test: Commercial vehicles older than 15 years and personal vehicles older than 20 years will have to undergo a fitness test at the government registered ‘Automated Fitness Centres’. Those which fail the test are declared as ‘end-of-life vehicles’ and they would have to be recycled.
  • Stringent re-registration criteria: Enhanced re-registration will be applicable on private vehicles from the 15th year of original registration. The users will have to pay extra.
  • Mandatory deadlines: The policy will kick in from April 2022. While scrapping of government vehicles over 15 years can be done by April 1, 2022, heavy CVs and other category vehicles must be mandatorily tested fitness by April 1, 2023, and June 1, 2024, respectively.
  • Incentives: The owners will be provided with a scrapping certificate after which they will be eligible for the incentives proposed under the scheme. For eg: The state governments may be advised to offer a road-tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and the vehicle manufacturers are advised for providing a discount of 5% on the purchase of a new vehicle.
  • Exceptions: The policy will not be applicable on vintage cars.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE POLICY:

  • Address pollution: According to World Air Quality Report, 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India and transportation is among the major sources of air pollution. The scheme aims to cut 25-30 per cent vehicular air pollution and ensure better fuel efficiency.
  • Boost to automobile industry: About 1 crore vehicles more than 15 years old ply on the country’s roads. As the old vehicles will vanish from the road, the service and manufacturing industry will get a boost with an increase in demand for new vehicles.

                                                 

  • Provides a roadmap: Numerous individual efforts to scrap old vehicles have been in motion. Eg: Delhi banning diesel vehicles older than 15 years. The national policy will provide a roadmap to these sporadic initiatives.
  • Encourage road safety: The policy will ensure that more cars on Indian roads are equipped with the rapidly improving safety technologies. Hence, it is in sync with the endeavour to reduce road accidents by introducing safety provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act 2019.
  • Non coercive and balance approach: The policy aims to nudge vehicle owners into compliance through a system of incentives and disincentives. At the same time, it allows the owners of “sentimental” vehicles and collectors of unique automobiles to preserve them, albeit at a price.
  • Lead by example by government: Government is setting an example by retiring about 2.3 lakh old vehicles owned by various agencies under it.
  • ‘Go green’ after COVID-19: Vehicle scrappage and replacement is seen internationally as a route to rejuvenate COVID-19-affected economies by privileging green technologies, notably electric vehicles (EVs), and also as an initiative to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century under Paris Agreement commitments.

CONCERNS:

  • Opposition from trucking industry: The country’s trucking industry is opposed to the policy. A recent report notes that industry experts believe the new policy will cause a lot of truck driver-owners to go out of business.
  • Use of public money: Except for the environmental benefit. There is no direct benefit from the policy. Hence, using public money for providing incentives might not be feasible.
  • Absence of standard operations procedures: absence of clear guidelines on the handling of scraps and recycling of parts by scrapping centres can lead to dumping and new forms of pollution from old vehicles.

CONCLUSION:

The scrapping policy is a reassuring testament to the government’s awareness on rising air pollution. Given the well-documented environmental and road safety risks of such large numbers of old automobiles, the policy is a step in the right direction. However, some concerns need to be addressed for the policy to be fully successful.

In this regard, Ecological scrapping, which focuses on high rates of materials recovery, should be the focal area. The scheme should also extend its support to replacing old vehicles with electric ones.

 

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q.  Write a short note on the significance of the new vehicle scrappage policy?