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National Vehicle Scrappage Policy: India's Big Hope Or An Opportunity Missed

It was not long ago in 2015 when the National Green Tribunal and the government were at loggerheads over a ban on old vehicles in the area of the national capital. A policy that treated pollution as big a threat to Delhi as to the rest of the country was the need of the hour which would consider scrapping old vehicles across the country. India, has finally got one, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally launched the National Vehicle Scrappage Policy at the investor summit in Gujrat[1]. The announcement comes in a week Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles. The tentative date for the implementation of the policy is October 1, 2021. Meanwhile, scrapping of government and PSU vehicles above 15 years will be undertaken from April 1, 2022.

What is the new vehicle scrappage policy and why is it needed?

The policy brings to light the criteria for defining the end-of-life vehicles and also scrapping them. It further makes a provision for scrapping facilities for safe disposal of waste and material recovery. This is being heralded as an important step towards building an infrastructure for organized and scientific scrapping of old vehicles. It is expected that the vehicle scrappage policy will bring investments of about 10,000 crores in the country and will also help in the phasing out of unfit and polluting vehicles in an eco-friendly manner. However, the policy works in an advisory capacity to the state governments and the automobile industry which is a big miss. It will be launched with government vehicles that are 15 years and more established, by April 2022. It will be extended to unsuitable substantial business vehicles from 2023, and individual vehicles more seasoned than 20 years will be covered from June 2024.
The advancement of clean portability requires a decrease in the nation's fuel import bills, and a decrease in outflows is a squeezing need as of now. Gadkari referenced how more than one crore vehicles on India's streets contribute significantly to rising contamination levels[2], just as their propensity to be less eco-friendly towards the finish of their life. Besides, he brought up such vehicles are additionally innately risky and can be a danger to their tenants just as other street clients.

What is RVSF?

Covered under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 the policy provides for a 'Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facility' (RVSF) which means any establishment which holds a registration for vehicle scrapping issued by a relevant authority for carrying out dismantling and scrapping operations[3]. The said RVSF will be provided access to the VAHAN database of vehicle registration which shall be used to make suitable entries regarding scrapping and issuance of certificate of deposit and scrapping. The RVSF can may be owned and operated by any legal entity, be it a person, firm, society or trust established lawfully.

After scrapping in case, the RVSF doesn't have satisfactory ability for reusing of unsafe waste, then, at that point such materials can be offered to properly approved recyclers. The RVSF should be careful guardianship of cut piece of Chassis Number for a time of a half year from the date of issue of 'Testament of Vehicle Scrapping' and keep a duplicate of all reports for record and assessment during review.

Will all vehicles beyond the limit of 15 years be scrapped?

No, not all vehicles after the said time i.e., 15 years in case of personal vehicles and 10 in case of commercial will be scrapped. But they will have to undergo a mandatory fitness test which would determine if they are fit to run or not. Simply put, this fitness test, is a detailed examination of the car's extent to environmental damage[4] and also a series of other examinations ranging from break, engine to overall roadworthiness etc. If the car passes the fitness test, its owner will get a renewal certificate and it will have to undergo such fitness tests every five years and if it fails then the car will become ineligible to run on the roads and it will be termed as 'EOLV' or End of Life Vehicle.

A step forward or a missed opportunity
Owners who scrap their old vehicle and plan to purchase another one will get motivating forces as a component of the Vehicle Scrappage Policy. A worth of the ex-display area cost of the old vehicle, going from 4% to 6 percent, will be given to the proprietor when they decide to scrap the vehicle. A discount of up to 25 percent of street assessment will be given to an individual when he purchases another individual vehicle in the wake of rejecting an old one[5]; the refund will be up to 15 percent for business vehicles. Also, vehicle makers have been encouraged to give a 5 percent markdown on new vehicle buys to people who produce a rejecting declaration and a waiver on the enlistment charge.

However, the policy puts the entire obligation of incentivising on the state governments. As mentioned earlier, all of this is an advisory capacity still asking the state governments to waive off a big chunk of their road tax and registration fees on replacement vehicles which are important sources of the state governments is a little far-fetched[6]. Also, it is not known if the central government will provide a stimulus programme for post pandemic green recovery as many governments have been doing so around the world.

Undoubtedly, India's first ever formal vehicle scrapping policy is a step forward in the right direction, with a few missed points here and there on the deeper and quicker air quality benefits and the manufacturer's relationship with recycling, this policy has still managed to try and cater to the post pandemic green recovery desired by our country.

End-Notes:
  1. https://www.indiatoday.in/auto/latest-auto-news/story/pm-narendra-modi-launches-national-vehicle-scrappage-policy-1840418-2021-08-13
  2. https://www.firstpost.com/tech/auto-tech/explained-national-automobile-scrappage-policy-and-what-it-means-for-vehicle-owners-in-india-9883741.html
  3. RVSF notification, The Gazette of India
  4. https://www.indiatoday.in/auto/story/vehicles-scrappage-policy-launched-all-rules-and-benefits-explained-in-5-points-1840491-2021-08-13
  5. https://www.businessinsider.in/policy/news/pm-modi-launches-vehicle-scrappage-policy-aims-to-generate-35000-jobs-and-attract-10000-crore-investment/articleshow/85297011.cms
  6. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/environment/india-s-vehicles-scrappage-policy-a-step-forward-but-a-missed-opportunity-76101

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