New Delhi: After more than a year of protracted talks and inter-ministerial sparring, the dispute over fuel economy norms for the Indian automobile industry is expected to be settled on Friday.
The Prime Minister’s Office has called a meeting of the ministries of petroleum, environment and forests, law, heavy industries and public enterprises, road transport and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to take a final call on the issue.
BEE, along with the Petroleum Conservation Research Association, which comes under the petroleum ministry, had initiated the move to notify fuel efficiency norms in August last year.
But the plan did not find favour with the ministry of road transport, which constituted a panel to formulate its own norms based on carbon dioxide emissions as the criteria.
Going alone: Minister for road transport and highways T.R. Baalu. His ministry had formed a panel to formulate fuel efficiency norms. PIB
The debate has culminated into two main disputes: whether the norms should be based on carbon dioxide emissions or on mileage, and under which Act should they be notified.
If the norms are notified under the Motor Vehicles Act, the road transport ministry will have the mandate to formulate and implement them, and if notified under the Energy Conservation Act, BEE will have the responsibility.
“We hope that it will be resolved on Friday. Especially the three issues of who gets the mandate for fuel efficiency norms, the possible approach and a time frame, which is essential,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be named.
The law ministry was asked to resolve the issue of mandate and it will submit its report on Friday. The ministry of environment and forests had advised against mileage as the measure, saying it would go against India’s stand under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“It is also against the Prime Minister’s national action plan on climate change, which focuses on energy efficiency and renewable energy and not direct regulation of carbon dioxide emissions,” said Anumita Roy Choudhury, associate director at the Centre for Science and Environment, an environmental lobbying institution.