New Delhi: The Modi government has proposed a clutch of fresh measures in a bid to control vehicular pollution, ThePrint has learnt.
Looking to keep old vehicles off the roads, the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has proposed to increase the registration fee of new vehicles as well as their renewal fee after 15 years, two senior government officials said.
A frequent fitness test for older vehicles has also been proposed, even as the ministry put on hold a scheme to make vehicle scrapping mandatory after 20 years.
Earlier this month, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari gave an in-principle approval to the long pending policy changes. A draft notification is expected soon.
Steep hike in registration fee of new & old cars
To deter people from buying more vehicles, the road ministry has proposed increasing the registration fee for both passenger and commercial vehicles.
For passenger cars, the ministry wants to raise the registration fee from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 — a 400 per cent increase. For trucks, the same could be hiked by over 1,200 per cent, from Rs 1,500 to Rs 20,000, said senior government officials.
Not just this, the ministry has also proposed a steep hike for renewal of registration of vehicles that are over 15 years old, added the officials.
The renewal fee for passenger cars could be raised to a maximum of Rs 10,000 from the existing Rs 1,000.
For commercial taxis, the ministry has sought to increase the renewal fee to approximately Rs 15,000 from the existing Rs 1,000; for trucks the renewal fee could be raised to Rs 40,000, up from the existing Rs 2,000.
According to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, the registration of a vehicle has to be renewed mandatorily every 15 years.
The road ministry finalised the changes after several rounds of meetings with federal think-tank Niti Aayog, one of the government officials told ThePrint.
“The idea is that a steep hike will discourage old vehicle owners to continue using them and polluting the roads. If they are still continuing they will have to foot the renewal fee,” said the official who did not want to be identified.
Proposal to make vehicle scrapping mandatory put on hold
Last year, the ministry had proposed to make vehicle scrapping mandatory from 2020 onwards, capping their life at 20 years.
However, the proposal was put on hold after the Prime Minister’s Office did not agree to it and directed the ministry to make the scheme voluntary, and consult states. So far, only a handful of states have given their feedback to the ministry.
“As of now, we have decided to not go ahead with mandatory scrapping of old vehicles but instead impose stiff fines on renewal of its registration if one chooses to ply them on the road,” added the official quoted above.
However, to promote scrapping of old vehicles through authorised centres, the government has now proposed that owners of such vehicles to be given a certificate, which can be used to avail a discount on registration fee of new vehicles.
India has approximately 700,000 trucks, buses and taxis manufactured before 31 December 2000 that contribute 15-20 per cent of vehicular pollution, according to a 2017 analysis by consultancy firm AT Kearney for the road ministry, based on data from the Central Pollution Control Board and the ministry.
Fitness test every six months, hike in road tax
The road ministry has also proposed that old, polluting vehicles have to undergo fitness checks once every six months instead of the present annual practice.
“We have also proposed to double the fitness fee for vehicles that are over 15 years old,” said a second government official.
The ministry will also write to state governments to increase the road tax on vehicles that are over 15 years old.
“We will ask them to enforce restrictions on entry of old polluting vehicles inside the city,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
‘Final notification soon’
The second official said these measures, once approved, will ensure that owner of older vehicles, especially commercial ones find it difficult to ply on the road because of stringent compliance norms.
“The road ministry will soon issue a draft notification inviting comments on the new proposal following which a final notification will be issued,” said the official.
The AT Kearney analysis had pegged the net economic benefit of these measures for the country to the tune of Rs 3,900 crore owing to savings from crude oil import and domestic steel scrap generation.