Automobile sales in India saw a steep decline in July this year. The automobile sector is currently facing prolonged demand slowdown for the past 12 months. This had cost at least 15, 000 job losses within 2-3 months, during the period when India is facing an unemployment crisis and overall economic slowdown.
The hazardous effects of pollutants from conventional fuel vehicles have caused the scientific world to move towards environmentally friendly energy sources. Though we have various renewable energy sources, the perfect one to use as an energy source for vehicles is hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cell technology represents one of the alternative solutions for future clean energy systems. Recently, The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified standards for the safety evaluation of hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles. The move is primarily aimed at a significant push for hydrogen vehicles in the country.
A few years back, Beijing and Delhi were competing with each other for being some of the most polluted cities in the world. Between 2000 and 2009, Beijing was far worse than Delhi in terms of air pollution. However, in recent years, the air quality of Beijing began improving while Delhi’s pollution levels continued to increase. In 2017, the concentration of PM 2.5 (particulate matter with a size of 2.5 microns or less) in Beijing was less than half that of Delhi. The number of “very unhealthy” days in Delhi is four times more than that of Beijing. The reason behind Beijing’s successful reduction of atmospheric pollution is due to the series of stringent measures to reduce the carbon emission into the atmosphere. One among them is the focus on the automobile sector. In 2017, the quota for new vehicles was fixed at 150,000 cars of which 60,000 was allotted only to the fuel-efficient cars. In 2018, this quota was reduced to 100,000. Although an average Indian contributes only a microscopic amount of transport-related carbon dioxide emissions to the global climate change, congested streets and polluted air are common aspects seen in the Indian metropolises. It is not only discomforting on a daily basis but is also a long-term health hazard to those who are living in big cities like Delhi.
The government has set the target of achieving 100% Electric vehicles by 2030. Manufacturing and putting the electric cars on road is the vision to make India pollution free along with saving billions of dollars in fuel cost and creating new job opportunities. However, there are also criticisms that India is not yet ready for electric vehicles which we will discuss in this article with a suitable way forward.
Vehicle scrappage programs serve multiple purposes like reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, pressure on mines, etc. However, it is also a key tool for economic revival as it has a direct bearing on the automobile sector– a critical determinant of economic growth. Many countries used it in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to aid their recovery. Recently, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released the draft Vehicle Scrappage Policy. This could serve as a much needed leg up for the Indian auto industry and post-COVID economy.