Banning old vehicles is retrograde: Vehicle’s fitness, not age, should be the criteria for scrapping

Whether a car is match to run or in any other case, lots will depend on how properly it’s maintained, its well timed repairs; this must be examined as a substitute of announcing it as unfit merely as a result of it has reached a sure age. (Representative picture/ File photograph)

On March 18, 2021, the Union minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, introduced a ‘voluntary’ car scrappage coverage to (1) mitigate vehicular air pollution and (2) greater than double the turnover of Indian vehicle trade from the present Rs 4.5 lakh crore to Rs 10 lakh crore in just a few years.

At current, there are 51 lakh autos older than 20 years, 34 lakh older than 15 years however lower than 20 years, and 17 lakh lower than 15 years’ outdated however with out a renewed health certificates. The coverage structure is based on two pillars (incentivise their scrapping and disincentivise hanging on to those).

The proprietor going for scrap will get 4-6% of the ex-showroom value of the brand new car as compensation; 5% low cost on buy of the brand new car; and rebate on street tax at 25% for private car (states levy this tax at 4%, so 25% rebate is 1%). The coverage moots waiver of registration charge for brand new car bought on manufacturing of ‘scrap certificates’ issued towards scrapped car. As for disincentives for hanging on, it proposes hike in charge for renewal of registration (Rs 5,000 for a automotive lower than 15 years’ outdated, up from Rs 600) and health certificates renewal charges, stiff penalties for delay in renewals and imposition of the so-called ‘inexperienced tax’ by states on such autos.

All private autos must endure obligatory automated health check after 20 years to ply on the roads (for industrial autos, the edge is 15 years). If they don’t go, these autos will probably be de-registered and impounded by transport authorities, announcing these as ‘finish of life autos’.

Even because the extant legislation in majority of the states supplies for re-registration of, say, a non-public automotive (run on petrol) for 5 years on completion of preliminary registration interval of 15 years, the coverage leaves the selection to the proprietor, in fact, topic to the car being match to run (relying on the health, registration could also be prolonged even past 20 years). Incentives/disincentives are solely supposed to galvanise him/her take a choice that strikes a steadiness between his/her particular wants and environmental issues. The coverage will kick-off with notification of the principles (anticipated in October 2021).

Meanwhile, an order of the Supreme Court (2018) validating a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that barred petrol autos older than 15 years from plying within the National Capital Region (NCR)—for diesel vehicles, the edge is 10 years—has put a spanner within the works. It offers rise to 4 anomalies.

First, the order negates the extant legislation that gives for renewal of registration on completion of 15 years from the date of first registration and takes retrospective impact. For occasion, an individual who purchased a automotive, say, on January 1, 2007, on the idea that she would be capable of run it for 20 years (15 plus 5), i.e. until January 1, 2027—in sync with the legislation of the land—will now must junk it on January 1, 2022.

Second, it presumes that every one vehicles routinely turn out to be unfit for plying after finishing 15 years. Whether a car is match to run or in any other case, lots will depend on how properly it’s maintained, its well timed repairs; this must be examined as a substitute of announcing it as unfit merely as a result of it has reached a sure age.

Third, it results in patent discrimination of car house owners within the NCR vis-à-vis these in different states. While the previous haven’t any choice however to dump their vehicles on completion of 15 years (even when these are match to run and meet air pollution norms), the latter can proceed to run their vehicles as much as 20 years and even past.

Fourth, the order renders the ‘voluntary’ car scrappage coverage infructuous in as far as the NCR is anxious. When there may be prohibition on working the automotive past 15 years, the very point out of the phrase ‘voluntary’ is laughable.

The authorities ought to take pressing steps to appropriate this anomaly. It could both method the highest court docket to relent; alternatively, it should result in essential amendments within the Motor Vehicles Act to replicate the coverage intent, i.e. utilizing health as the only real criterion regardless of the car’s age for figuring out whether or not it may be allowed to run or not.

The creator is a coverage analyst

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