Last week, government of India announced the long-awaited vehicle scrappage policy. As per it, in case of failure to get a fitness certificate, commercial vehicles will be de-registered after 15 years, said Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari.
Private vehicles will be de-registered after 20 years if found unfit or in case of a failure to renew registration certificates, he said. Also, the registration fees may also be waived for the purchase of a new vehicle.
All vehicles of the central government, state government, municipal corporation, panchayats, state transport undertakings, public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies with the Union and state governments may be de-registered and scrapped after 15 years from the date of registration and is likely to start from April 1, 2022. Another year thereafter is possibly stipulated to identify junk heavy commercial vehicles through mandatory fitness checks, and other vehicles by 2024. It seems to be a constructive road map and as such a welcome step.
While rules for fitness tests and scrapping centres are likely to be notified by October 1 of this year, it envisages that personal vehicles will be required to undergo a fitness test at the government-certified fitness centres. The Owners can scrap their vehicles anywhere in the country irrespective of their registration place.
The government, it is presumed knows that it will be no easy task to put in place a credible system of automated fitness checking centres to assess whether commercial and private vehicles. The enforcement also remains key to get the vehicles scrapped once found unfit for use and to stop them from moving to smaller places like Jammu and Kashmir.
The governments including the local administration may also need to work out beforehand financial arrangements for small operators, who may oppose the new measures.
The scrappage policy follows imposing of green tax on old polluting vehicles in a bid to protect environment by curbing pollution.
Together with the purposed green tax as well as the exemption of certain categories of vehicles from road/token tax by the local administration, the new policies will dissuade people from using vehicles which damage the environment and motivate them to switch to newer, less polluting vehicles. There is a need to have plans together to eliminate polluting fuel guzzlers. All governments need to see the value of operationalising them as planned. While the green tax will reduce the pollution level, and make the polluter pay for pollution, cleaner fuels should help clear the toxic air in cities and towns. The scrappage policy is a welcome addition.