Is Siam’s recommendation of scrapping of Pre-96 vehicles Practical?

Question:

The problem of vehicular pollution in India can be tackled by the following ways:

  1. Taking all old models off the roads
  2. Enforcing stringent emission norms
  3. Putting punitive fines for violations

Which among the above measures are suitable for India?

Correct answer should be 2 & 3. Here is an explanation:

Recently, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), the apex auto sector body, recommended taking all pre-1996 car models off the roads. The society feels that regular scrappage can help phase out old, polluting private and commercial vehicles. The idea is to get them replaced by new, green friendly versions via tax and other sops.

  • However, it is not sure whether the idea is workable in India. It can work in developed nations where incomes and living standards are high. In India, where people agitate even against minor transport fare hikes, it’s politically hazardous to mandate junking of old cars. Even with inducements, today’s automobile prices stretch the budgets of even the middle class. And public transport options are poor in most Indian cities. Radical plans however well-intentioned can’t be introduced by fiat without causing public resentment and anger. They will be seen as a gambit to benefit automakers at the aam admi’s cost.

The measures which are practical in India start with the proper enforcing stringent emission norms. This along with the punitive fines for violations, a strict, corruption-free system can monitor vehicular fitness standards is what required. That way, the onus for keeping old vehicles in shape or replacing them will be on the owners. Shifting to cleaner fuel options like CNG or models like electric cars can be incentivised. We must also build efficient, comfortable mass transport systems. Finally, both new and old vehicles guzzle polluting – and often adulterated – diesel. Surely we need price decontrol to curb the fuel’s environmentally hazardous overuse. (inputs TOI)

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