Data shared recently in Rajya Sabha indicates that more than 6 crore vehicles in the country are more than 15 years old, about 18% of all the vehicles registered in the country. The share of vehicles older than 15 years varies widely across states with more than 40% in Delhi to just 2.37% in Bihar.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) formulated the ‘Voluntary Vehicle Fleet Modernization Program (VVMP)’, or the ‘Vehicle Scrapping Policy’ based on incentives and disincentives, for creating an ecosystem to phase out older, unfit polluting vehicles. The intention is to cut down on the pollution caused by old and defective vehicles, bring down vehicular air pollution and work towards achieving India’s climate commitments, improve road and vehicular safety, and improve fuel efficiency. The policy also aims at making the Indian scrappage industry organized, transparent and environmentally friendly. State and UTs have also notified their own guidelines for implementation of the policy and started the implementation of the same.
As per the policy, the registration of vehicles is linked to the validity of the fitness certificate. Both private and commercial vehicles must possess valid fitness certificates for renewal of their registration. In the case of commercial vehicles, fitness tests are conducted every 2 years for the first 8 years and annually thereafter. For private vehicles, the first registration is valid for 15 years following which a valid fitness certificate is necessary for renewal of registration. The renewal takes place every 5 years. It was also proposed that the fitness tests be conducted through Automated Testing Stations. If a vehicle fails an automated fitness test, one re-test after the necessary repair/rectification, and re-inspection if ordered by the Appellate Authority, it will be declared an ‘End of Life Vehicle’. The scrapping policy is not applicable to vintage cars and to the special purpose vehicles (armoured and other specialised vehicles) used for operational purposes for defense of the country and for the maintenance of law and order and internal security.
Incentive and disincentive mechanisms have been included to push End-of-life vehicle owners to scrap older vehicles
The fees for conducting fitness tests and granting fitness certificates have been increased for both private and commercial vehicles older than 15 years. While the fee for renewal of registration for private vehicles after 15 years has been increased from Rs. 600 to Rs. 5000, the same in the case of commercial vehicles has been increased from Rs. 200 to Rs.7,500 to Rs.12,500 depending on vehicle type. The fees for conducting the tests have also been increased. In the case of government-owned vehicles including PSUs, State Transport Undertakings, and autonomous bodies, all vehicles may be de-registered and scrapped after 15 years from the date of original registration, irrespective of fitness.
On the other hand, to encourage people to scrap old vehicles, incentives are being provided for purchasing new vehicles. Scrapping centers will provide a ‘Scrap Value’ for the old vehicle of approximately 4-6% of the ex-showroom price of a new vehicle. Further, draft rules have been notified for state governments to offer a concession on motor vehicle tax of up to 25% for non-transport vehicles and up to 15% for transport vehicles. Additionally, registration fees are to be waived for the purchase of a new vehicle against the certificate of deposit issued and auto OEMs have been advised to provide a 5% discount on the purchase of a new vehicle against the certificate of deposit, as per the draft notification.
1.2 crore vehicles are estimated to be scrapped
Approximately, 1.2 crore vehicles without valid fitness and registration will be scrapped including 75 lakh light vehicles and 45 lakh heavy commercial vehicles. It is estimated that the scrapping of the current End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) burden of the country will lead to a 15-20% reduction in emissions due to vehicular pollution. According to MoRTH, the emission from one pre-BS old truck or bus is equivalent to that of 14 new BS-VI trucks or buses. Similarly, one old pre-BS car’s emission is equivalent to that of 11 new BS-VI cars.
Over 6.1 crore vehicles equivalent or older than 15 years registered across the country
In response to a question on scrapping vehicles in the Rajya Sabha, the state-wise number of registered vehicles greater than or equal to 15 years as on 31 March 2023 was provided. It should be noted that the data for Telangana and Lakshadweep is not available in the ‘Online Vahan Database’ and have not been included. As per the data, there are more than 6.1 crore vehicles equivalent and older than 15 years, registered across the country. Of this, 77.3% (4.72 crores) are petrol-only vehicles, 18.57% (1.13 crore) are diesel-only vehicles, and 0.14% (85,255) are CNG-only vehicles. The fuel type data of the remaining 4% of them have not been recorded in the system. It should be remembered that not all these vehicles may require scrapping since it is based on the fitness of the vehicles.
More than half the old vehicles were registered in 5 states
Most of these vehicles (greater than or equal to 15 years) were registered in Karnataka (14.3%) followed by Uttar Pradesh (12.3%). Delhi and Tamil Nadu accounted for more than 9% each, followed by Kerala with 7.2%. These 5 states together contributed to 52.3%. Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Punjab accounted for more than 5% each while West Bengal contributed 4.6%. On the other hand, except Assam, the remaining 6 northeastern states together had 5.4 lakh vehicles accounting for less than 1%. It is noteworthy that among large states, Bihar accounted for only 0.4% and Assam accounted for 0.6% of such vehicles that are greater than or equal to 15 years.
Share of old vehicles ranged from 2% in Bihar to 41% in Delhi
As on 19 April 2023, over 34.15 crore vehicles were registered in the country as per the Vahan database. Compared with the total number of registered vehicles in the country, old vehicles (greater than or equal to 15 years) made up about 17.9% of the total vehicles registered in the country. In major states/UTs, the share of old vehicles against the total vehicles registered varied from 2% to 40%.
In Delhi, the share of old vehicles was about 41%, the highest in the country. The national capital has always been under the scanner for high pollution. In December 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) announced the ban of vehicles older than 15 years on the roads of Delhi, to reduce the air pollution loads in the city which was later challenged by the MoRTH citing fitness and road worthiness as criteria towards a permanent solution than the age limit.
In major states such as Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh, one in every five vehicles is an old vehicle (greater than or equal to 15 years). On the other hand, it was less than 10% in Maharashtra (9.4%), Assam (7%), and Bihar (2.4%). It is also observed that the total number of vehicles registered in Bihar as of 19 April 2023 was more than that in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand which indicates that more vehicles are being registered in the state in recent years.
While scrapping of old vehicles and modernization of fleet is being prioritized by the government with the objective of reducing emissions and pollution levels in the country, it must be ensured that the resultant waste is disposed of with utmost care. The finance minister announced that adequate funds have been allocated in the 2023-24 budget to scrap old vehicles of the Central Government and that States will also be supported in replacing old vehicles and ambulances.