Air pollution has been a major issue for the urban demography of late and has been one of the major concerns of the government. The Supreme Court of India is also looking into possibilities to keep a check on the air pollution form cracker, stubble burning, but vehicles remain major concern, even though they contribute just 8 per cent to the overall pollution level. On the similar lines, Supreme Court of India has asked the government about its plans to popularise electric vehicles (EVs) in a bid to curb air pollution.
Chief Justice of India (CJI), Sharad Arvind Bobde said, "We find that the issue of use of electric vehicles is connected to several other issues which are pending before the court. All of these issues which pertain to the source of power of vehicles, public and Pvt, eventually have a great impact on the environment. Not only NCR region but whole country. We consider it appropriate that all the issues be considered simultaneously and with the assistance of an authority empowered to take decisions."
Chief Justice has asked the government about the details of its plans to popularise EVs and increase their use, further demanding for a response in four weeks. In fact, the CJI has asked Road and Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari to arrive at the court and assist in the formation of policies. "we are not summoning the minister (solicitor gen cautioned that this would be interpreted wrongly and in a political manner)....but would like to hear from him," he added.
Government has already got the Faster Adoption And Manufacturing Of Electric Vehicles II (FAME II) scheme in place to increase the use of EVs. It has allocated ₹ 10,000 crore under the FAME II scheme to set up the charging infrastructure and facilitate manufacturing of EVs. In addition to that, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recommended reducing the GST rate on electric vehicles from the current 12 per cent to 5 per cent in a bid to push the sale of EVs in the country. EV buyers will also get income tax deduction of ₹ 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase electric vehicles. Moreover, once BS6 regulations come into effect on April 1, 2020, pollution levels emitted by even ICE vehicles sold in India will reduce by 80 per cent.