Thousands of trucks and busses that have passed their prime and are an environmental burden due to the pollution they cause are likely to be taken off Indian roads in the next couple of years. The cabinet could soon clear the vehicle scrapping policy which bars commercial vehicles older than 20 years from plying.
The much-awaited policy was given 'in-principle' approval at a high-level meeting by the PMO in March. Once the policy gets cabinet nod, all the commercial vehicles that are more than two-decade old will be taken off road from April 1, 2020.
Earlier in March, Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India Nitin Gadkari said that old commercial vehicles were responsible for 65 per cent of the vehicular pollution. "The policy to scrap these has got nod at a Secretary-level meeting at the PMO. Now stakeholders consultation will be done in a fortnight and it will go to the Cabinet in about a month's time," the Minister had said.
After the Cabinet approval, the policy will be placed before the GST Council as the concessions that the government is liable to give to buyers of new vehicles in lieu of the scrapped ones are linked to state governments and the central government. The GST Council will decide the amount of concession that the Centre and the states will offer in this regard.
The policy will not only cut the emission but also boost the consumer demand. Speaking on the impact of the move, Gadkari had said: "The policy will result in increase in Rs 10,000 crore revenue to the government. Production of new vehicles will jump by 22 per cent...The automobile industry at present is a Rs 4.5 lakh crore industry in India, will swell to a Rs 20 lakh crore industry."
Earlier, it was reported that the GST Council would be requested to reduce rate to 18 per cent from 28 per cent for a new commercial vehicle that would be purchased in place of a scrapped vehicle. Once the policy comes into force, the centre and states will set up various vehicle scrapping clusters near ports under Sagarmala initiative.
According to reports, India has over 700,000 commercial vehicles that were registered before December 31, 2000.
(With inputs from PTI)