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India has finally unveiled a vehicle scrappage policy to take old vehicles off our streets and help keep the air free of fumes. Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday that this will set up a “win-win" for all.

That may indeed be the case. A personal car that’s more than two decades old would need an exhaust-emission clearance to keep running. But there’ll be incentives to get us to junk old vehicles for new ones as they near the end of that period. Not only will we get a road tax rebate and registration fee waiver, automakers promise a 5% discount on new purchases, provided we produce a scrappage certificate. If this encourages many of us to give up our ol’ faithfuls on wheels, carmakers would see a jump in demand. To be sure, people do like to keep vintage vehicles. Also, the world’s top marques have cars that are exquisitely engineered and can even be passed along from one generation to the next, like Swiss watches. So long as their tail pipes are not found to be choking us and heating up the planet, they can keep going. But a large number of clunkers we have on our streets need to be scrapped, especially those that leave a carbon-heavy trail of smoke as they grunt along.

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