The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex Industry body representing leading vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India today has put forward some of the facts with reference to the Ban being exercised by the Supreme Court on diesel passenger cars of 2000cc and above engine capacity.
As per the study conducted recently by IIT Kanpur which indicates that all types of Passenger Cars as a whole contribute to only 2% of the PM 2.5 pollution load in NCT. Out of this 2%, all diesel cars are estimated to contribute only 1.5% of the PM 2.5 pollution load. Further BS-IV diesel cars contribute only 0.5 % of PM 2.5 emissions.
All diesel cars being manufactured today are compliant to the current emission norms set by Government of India, Compliant vehicles can never be considered as “polluting”, and the “polluter pays” principle cannot be applied, unless there is a violation of the notified emission norms. The automotive industry has made significant investments in diesel technology which are in accordance with the Investment Policies of Government. As such, putting any restrictions or bans on a legally compliant industry tantamount to an infringement of the fundamental right to do business in the country.
According to SIAM, a ban on diesel vehicle is not going to achieve the desired objective of reducing pollution, but will vilify diesel technology which has gone through a major transformation over the last 15 years and today is highly clean, as well as energy efficient. A ban on BS IV diesel cars legally encourages old and highly polluting vehicles not meeting the current emission norms, to continue plying on the road, while not allowing new vehicles compliant with current emission norms to be used. This is contra to the objective of the ban. It also gives an impression that there is no stability or predictability in the policy regime which will deeply dent the country’s global image as an investment destination and the ‘Make in India’ priority. Many auto MNCs have already taken a decision to freeze further investments in India until complete clarity is achieved on key policy issues which can have a bearing on their business prospects in India.
The auto industry with a total size of approximately Rs. 600,000 crores contribute almost half of the Manufacturing GDP of the country and employs more than 31 million persons direct and indirect. According to Government’s Automotive Mission Plan (AMP), the auto industry has the potential to employ a further 65 million persons in the next 10 years. The task before Government now is to arrive at a unified stand on major policy issues like the diesel case and clarify the policy to the Courts, as well as globally.