Fuel for thought – Mr Gadkari’s statement reflects a valid policy concern

Source: The post is based on the article “Fuel for thought – Mr Gadkari’s statement reflects a valid policy concern” published in Business Standard on 15th September 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment – Pollution

Relevance: Measures taken to reduce vehicular emission

News: The government is taking various measures to discourage the sale of diesel vehicles in order to control the mission.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has also urged the automobile industry to move away from diesel vehicles, warning of increased taxes.

What measures have been adopted by the government to discourage the use of diesel vehicles?

First, it imposed a 28% GST rate on both diesel and petrol cars, with an additional 22% cess on sports utility vehicles (SUVs), making the total tax on such vehicles 50%.

Second, the government’s fuel price reforms have reduced the price gap between diesel and petrol from around 16.78 rupees per liter to approximately 7.1 rupees per liter. As a result, the market share of diesel cars has decreased significantly from 48% to about 20%.

Third, a committee recommended a ban on diesel four-wheelers in cities with over one million residents. However, it’s unclear if the government has accepted this proposal.

Moreover, after the introduction of Bharat Stage-VI emission norms, major Indian automakers like Maruti, Hyundai, and Honda decided to halt diesel vehicle production.

Must Read: Transport Minister mentions tax on diesel vehicles: Why is diesel under pressure? and Ban on diesel vehicles by 2027: Reasoning and Challenges – Explained

What more can be done to control the emission?

India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, recognizes that road transportation, especially diesel vehicles, is a major source of emissions.

Hence, to combat this, promoting the transition to biofuels or electric transport is crucial. This shift may involve consumer-focused electric vehicle subsidies and rethinking green energy policies to reduce thermal energy reliance in the green revolution.

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