India is all set to bring in vehicle scrappage policy to put out old and often heavily polluting vehicles off roads. The announcement was made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as per of her Budget 2021 speech on February 1. At a time when pollution levels in the sub-continent are highest anywhere in the world, calls for a similar policy to tackle rusty old vehicles have also begun in the neighbouring country of Pakistan.
(Also read: India's Vehicle Scrappage Policy needs strong incentives to succeed)
Several Indian as well as Pakistani cities are notorious for the high level of pollutants in the air. A large chunk of this is also due to vehicular emissions. And while electric vehicles promise to cut down on pollution, it is realized by many that it is a disruptive technology in the world of automobiles and that widespread adoption would take time. As such, vehicle scrappage policy is regarded as a more direct approach to reduce vehicular emissions. "If the idea behind promoting electric cars is to reduce carbon emissions then the scrappage policy should have preceded the electric vehicle policy," Ali Asghar Jamali, the CEO of Indus Motor Company, reportedly told SAMAA Money. Indus Motor Company manufactures Toyota products in Pakistan.
Jamali also stated that it appeared to him that Pakistan's EV policy was drafted in haste and that it will take at least three years to have clarity in the matter.
Pakistan automotive industry has been calling for the country's own scrappage policy which, apart from relegating old vehicles to the junkyard, could also boost demand for new vehicles. “We have been struggling with the auto scrap policy for about two decades as it is imperative for the progress of our auto sector," Mashood Ali Khan, former chairman of Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) told Pakistan's Tribune. "We suggest the government of Pakistan to introduce a comprehensive auto scrap policy under which auto vehicles older than 15 years should be transported to rural areas and should not be allowed on the roads of big cities."
While the auto industry the world over suffered enormously in 2020 owing to Covid-19-related challenges, the impact was especially severe for the industry in Pakistan. There have been requests as well as demands in the past to of and of the Imran Khan-led government here but with the country's economy in patchy waters, not much has come in the way of boosting sentiments.