India is right now dealing with a severe crisis of air pollution. While a lot of scientific studies have pointed out the fact that vehicular emissions form only a tiny part of this, the government has become serious about stopping the use of old vehicles. You must have read a lot of reports of late where 10 or 15 year old vehicles have been targeted. Some even calling for a ban on such vehicles. But the lack of a scrappage policy has been a major hinderance.

The Modi Sarkar is trying to forge a deal with Germany to share environment-friendly technology for scrapping of old vehicles. In a meeting with Mr Alexander Dobrindt, Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Germany, Mr Nitin Gadkari, the country’s Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping discussed several possibilities.

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While deregistering old vehicles seems to be an easy way out for stopping the use of polluting vehicles in cities, it is only a half-baked solution. Unlike physical boundaries, pollution cannot be stopped by state borders. Older vehicles, with BSII and BSI compliance, get sold to smaller towns and villages. Scrapping them efficiently is the only solution.

Germany’s scrappage policy, called as Umweltprämie (which means environmental premium), is one of the largest in the world.  Every owner of a car older than 9 years is entitled for a scrappage premium of, 2,500 euros, when buying a new car. Loopholes, of course, exist in this as well, as the cars just needed to be sent to junkyards and not destroyed. So a lot of these cars have been smuggled to underdeveloped nations in Africa.

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Mr Gadkari had earlier said that thanks to a new scrappage policy, the Centre stands to gain Rs 4,000 crore while States will gain Rs 10,000 crores. He also estimates that the automotive industry will grow by 22 percent because of this initiative.

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He also informed the German delegation that India has put in place all required regulations for the use of Flex-fuel like ethanol mixed with petrol. He said that German automobile manufacturers can be called upon to produce cars that can run on flex-fuel for India, like the ones being produced in Canada and USA.


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