Green Tax for old, polluting vehicles: Government’s Classic Gambit

Indian authorities are becoming serious about dealing with the atrocity of air pollution. Therefore, they have decided to penalize the old, polluting vehicles in the form of a Green Tax. Will it be effective in deteriorating vehicular pollution? Read more to find out.

Air pollution creates conspicuous adverse impacts on a country’s environment, health, and economy. Ambient air pollution was responsible for 0.98 million deaths in India in 2019. This number contributed to the 115.3 percent rise in the death rate between 1990 and 2019, attributable to ambient particulate pollution. A 139.2 percent statistical increase in the ambient ozone pollution-related fatalities also raises the red alarm in the world’s second-most populous nation. These facts converge on the pressing need for stringent measures to combat air pollution now more than ever.

The automobile sector is one of the top culprits that commit the felony of polluting air. Vehicular emissions contribute to 40-80 percent of the total air pollution. Among the total on-road traffic, heavy-duty vehicles comprise a meagre percentage yet generate a significant amount of air contaminants. The older the vehicle, the more the probability of it being critically polluting. Commercial vehicles, five percent of the total fleet, contribute up to 65-70 percent of vehicular pollution. On the other hand, vehicles older than 2000 comprise less than one percent of the traffic but contribute up to fifteen percent of the vehicular pollution. Statistically, older vehicles are 10-25 times more polluting than newer ones.

The Indian government is realizing the need of the hour and is striving in the right direction. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways gave a green flag to a proposal earlier this week. The proposal sought the imposition of a Green Tax on old vehicles that contaminate the environment.

After attaining a nod from the Union Ministry, the proposal will now go to the states for their verdict.

Moreover, the Union Ministry has also given a green signal to the scheme of deregistration and scrapping of time-worn vehicles registered in the name of government departments and PSUs. Thus, it would include vehicles that are above 15 years of age. This policy would come into effect from April 1, 2022.

The diverged revenue from the Green Tax would be an official investment to tackle air pollution. Dispersion among states would also take place to establish efficient monitoring stations to rein in the emissions. Hence, it would prove to be a long-term plan to knock-out air pollution.

Principles for levying Green Tax

  1. Green tax at the rate of 10-15 percent of road tax could be charged on transport vehicles older than eight years during the renewal of the Fitness Certificate.
  2. Personal vehicles, after 15 years of use, would be charged Green Tax during the renewal of Registration Certification.
  3.  Lesser Green Tax for public transport vehicles.
  4. Vehicles registered in highly-polluted cities would be charged a higher Green Tax of up to 50 percent of road tax.
  5. Differential penalties, based on the type of vehicle and fuel deployed.
  6. Exemption to hybrids, electric vehicles, and cars that deploy alternate fuels (CNG, ethanol, LPG, etc.).
  7. Exemption to farming-based vehicles like tractors, harvesters, tillers, etc.

Benefits of Green Tax

  • Imposition of Green Tax would dehort people from using anti-environmental vehicles.
  • It would encourage citizens to opt for ‘greener’ fuels and vehicles.
  • Green Tax would make the defaulters pay for neglecting their vehicles’ supremely polluting emissions.
Poorna Khanna

Poorna Khanna is an environmentalist by passion and profession. She has a master's degree in Environment Management and wants to change the world for the better, one step at a time. A firm believer in the power of nature, she hopes that with increased awareness, we will be able to create a better future for our children.

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