On Monday, the Supreme Court directed the transport departments of the Delhi-NCR region to “immediately announce” that petrol vehicles older than 15 years and diesel vehicles older than 10 years will not ply in the region. How many such vehicles ply in the NCR, and how are owners expected to go about scrapping them?
No policy yet
Delhi alone has around 38 lakh vehicles that fall in this category. These, however, are just the number of vehicles registered with the Delhi Transport Department. There are no figures for how many of them are still plying in Delhi-NCR. These vehicles must either be sold outside Delhi-NCR where they are allowed to ply, or be scrapped and recycled.
India’s Vehicle Scrapping Policy, however, has remained under discussion and planning for at least three years now. In August 2015, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “We are bringing such a scheme that if you sell your old vehicle you will get a certificate which on being produced at the time of new purchase will get you a discount of up to Rs 50,000. For small vehicles like cars, it will be up to Rs 30,000. Besides, there will be exemptions in taxes and total benefits for big vehicles like trucks will be up to Rs 1.5 lakh.”
Earlier this year, Delhi’s Transport Department also issued orders to scrap old and unclaimed vehicles. Under this policy, individuals who want to get their vehicles scrapped have to get clearance and a certificate from the area Motor Licensing Officer.
A public service undertaking, MSTC, and Mahindra Motors have started an automated vehicle scrapping and recycling unit in Greater Noida.
Abroad, incentives on offer
The Delhi rules do not offer any incentive for people to scrap old vehicles to buy newer, cleaner ones. Among other countries, the United States and the United Kingdom both came up with policies in 2009 to encourage people to scrap old, fuel-guzzling vehicles with new ones. The aim was two-pronged — to boost sales in the motor industry and to tackle emissions.
In the US, the programme was called “cash for clunkers” and offered people between $2,500 and $4,500 to scrap older vehicles that gave mileage up to 7.7 km per litre. The programme ran for 8 weeks.
The UK came up with an incentive scheme which gave car owners up to £2,000 for scrapping an old vehicle and buying a new, more efficient one (co-funded by the government and the car industry) if they scrapped their old cars. The scheme was valid only if the individual bought a more fuel-efficient vehicle. According to a briefing paper on Vehicle Scrappage Schemes in the House of Commons Library, close to 400,000 claims were submitted under the scheme.
In Beijing, there have been two rounds of an incentive-based policy to get polluting cars off the roads. In 2011, the city started a programme that targeted cars registered in 1995 or earlier. People were paid between $350 and $2,300 to scrap these vehicles. In 2014, the city administration brought in another policy that ordered scrapping of ‘yellow label’ cars. These cars were the ones that were not meeting the emissions and fuel standards of China. The number of these cars, according to a State Council policy document, was around 330,000.
Centre for Science and Environment executive director Anumita Roychowdhury, a transport expert, said several cities across the world have comprehensive vehicle scrapping policies combined with an end-of-life policy. “In countries such as Germany and the US, there are guidelines for recycling 80% to 90% of the vehicle’s parts. End-of-life regulations also make it mandatory for the manufacturers to take responsibility for final disposal of vehicles. A scrapping policy should work in tandem with an end-of-life policy as well as guidelines of recycling,” she said.