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Feeding on scraps: India’s vehicle scrapping policy finds few takers

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Raghav Mahobe

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Raghav Mahobe

15 reads

India’s vehicle scrapping policy was meant to introduce the concept of circularity to the country’s Rs 8,70,000 crore auto industry and help decrease polluting vehicular emissions. Two years on, however, the scrapping of end-of-life vehicles is still a rarity.

December 05, 2023

13 MINS READ

Key Takeaways

  • Launched in August 2021, India’s vehicle scrapping policy seeks the removal and safe disposal of around 10 million end-of-life vehicles
  • Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facilities (RVSFs) have sprouted across the country for this purpose, but say their operations are unviable due to a lack of vehicles coming in 
  • Industry players say the voluntary nature of the policy, along with insufficient incentives and disincentives is likely the reason for the lack of traction
  • With a nationwide mandate for vehicle fitness testing set to kick in from June 2024, the time is ripe for a rethink of the policy 

In March 2021 when the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) announced its vehicle scrapping policy, it was the latest arrow in India’s quiver in the fight against climate change.

Aimed at reducing the number of old and polluting vehicles in the country, the policy introduces the concept of circularity in India’s Rs 8,70,000 crore automotive industry by recycling components from unfit vehicles for use in the production of new ones.

According to government estimates, the pollution caused by end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) is enormous. There are around 4.5 million such medium and heavy commercial vehicles like trucks and buses plying on India’s roads. For light vehicles, such as cars and taxis, this number stands at 7.5 million. These numbers are only expected to rise further, with India expected to have about 22.5 million ELVs by 2025, according to estimates from the auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

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