Delhi-NCR is already operating under the NGT and the Supreme Court's orders regarding the ban on old vehicles. So, where does the upcoming national scrappage scheme fit into all this?
At the beginning of this year, the first details of the Centre's national voluntary vehicle scrappage scheme surfaced. And in March, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari, shed some more light on the slew of monetary incentives that are in the pipeline to make the scrappage scheme an overall success in terms of implementation.
However, in Delhi-NCR, where a separate set of complex norms are already in place due to its hazardous pollution levels, especially in winter, the current draft policy, in its present form, may be more or less inconsequential for those whose vehicles are registered in the region. Here's a look at why this may be the case.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT)
As we all know, any registered diesel vehicle more than 10 years old and any petrol vehicle over 15 years of age cannot ply on the roads in the NCR, as per the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) 2015 order, which was further reinforced by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Now, what's interesting is that these orders overrule the Centre's national scrappage scheme. Therefore, even when the scrappage scheme comes into effect, Delhi NCR will continue to operate as per the 2018 Supreme Court order. So, to make the scrappage scheme effective in the region, the Supreme Court and NGT will have to come out with separate directives to either accommodate the scrappage scheme alongside the current order or simply revoke its orders for the scrappage scheme to take over.
Delhi's own vehicle scrappage guidelines
As per Delhi's own vehicle scrappage guidelines, which came out in August 2018, any vehicle, whether petrol or diesel, has to be mandatorily scrapped if it's over 15 years old. These guidelines directly contradict the provisions of the national scrappage scheme, which allow old vehicles to be re-registered and reused post a mandatory fitness test and the payment of additional fees and taxes – the draft policy caps the life of government and commercial vehicles at 15 years and private vehicles at 20 years.
This contradiction stems from the fact that in Delhi NCR, the vehicle scrappage guidelines depend on the fuel type and fixed shelf life of the vehicle type, whereas, the national scrappage scheme only makes the distinction between private and commercial vehicles to determine the age for re-registration, post a fitness test.
Last month, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot announced the state government's plan to approach the Supreme Court regarding its 2018 prohibitory order. If the Delhi government succeeds in convincing the Supreme Court to review its order, then there's hope for the national scrappage scheme to have a more prominent role in the region. If not though, then, like most policies, this one too shall remain in limbo over the lack of clarity in terms of the Centre's and the State's policy implementation.
It's worth mentioning that the Delhi government can file an appeal only when the national scrapping scheme is formally notified by the Centre. As of now, it's still a draft policy.