Home / News / India /  Covid-19: Will bring vehicle scrappage policy at the earliest, says Gadkari

Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the ministry is pursuing the long-delayed vehicle scrapping policy to support the domestic automobile industry amid the covid-19 pandemic.

“I have been trying to pursue the scrapping policy for the last two years. We need cooperation from other ministries, stakeholders. Have told the secretary to follow it up as soon as possible. This is one of the steps to boost the industry because it will reduce production," Gadkari said in a video conference with the society of Indian automobile manufacturers (SIAM).

“I will find out what are the obstacles. We will clear it and go ahead," he said.

The vehicle scrappage policy, which awaits clearance from the finance ministry, aims to eliminate the fleet of old polluting vehicles and boost demand.

The coronavirus-led crisis has only made matters worse for the local automobile sector that was already struggling due to weak demand. The imposition of the nationwide lockdown had halted all economic activities, adding to the woes of businesses. The automobile industry continues to expect tepid demand in near term as it believes that normalcy in businesses may not be restored immediately even if the lockdown is lifted completely.

The proposed policy had got a fresh push in August last year even when the automobile sector reeled under slowdown pressure. Separately, the road ministry had issued draft guidelines in October to set up vehicle scrapping centres in the country to protect the environment and promote a legally-backed dismantling and scrapping industry.

Last year, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced several steps for the automobile sector, including a scrappage policy for vehicles, aimed at increasing production and capacity utilisation.

As far as the unsold Bharat Stage IV compliant inventory is concerned, the minister said that the government is bound by the Supreme Court’s verdict on the same. However, on industry’s request, he will get the matter examined afresh. In March, the apex court relaxed the March 31 deadline for winding up sales and registrations of BS IV emission norm-compliant vehicles amid a countrywide lockdown.

The government will also look into the suggestions of the automobile industry and give extension in timelines, wherever possible, without compromising on road safety norms.

Transport secretary Giridhar Armane said that the Prime Minister’s Office and the finance ministry is working on a comprehensive package for all industries, including micro small and medium enterprises.

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