Delhi allocates a fourth of its budget for improving transport
IT IS a budget with concern for the environment. The Delhi government has made diesel cars costlier and bicycles cheaper.
It has proposed an additional tax of 25 per cent in the current automobile tax structure at the time of registration of diesel vehicles. Diesel cars defeat clean air initiatives in urban India. Indian emission norms allow diesel vehicles to emit more pollutants like particulate matter and nitrous oxide than petrol ones. Differential fuel pricing policy and subsidies also drive sales of such vehicles. Currently, diesel cars account for 36 per cent of the new sales.
The hike is aimed at reducing “polluting emissions” from the growing number of diesel vehicles in the capital. Denmark and Brazil also levy additional taxes on diesel vehicles to offset low fuel prices.
This is not the first time Delhi government has proposed such taxes. In 2004, a similar initiative to impose an additional two per cent tax had to be abo rted due to backlash from the automobile industry. The industry still remains hostile to the idea. Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, says, “How can a vehicle following the emission norms set up by the government itself be considered polluting?”
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