Delay in subsidies causes drop in sale of green vehicles in Delhi

Delhi, Amrita Nayak Dutta: Despite being one of the highest polluted cities of the country, Delhi may lag behind in getting green vehicles to its streets. Data available with the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) shows that the national capital, which till early this year, was the highest in purchase of electric vehicles on its roads, has slipped to the 10th rank.

As per the data, Uttar Pradesh tops in the purchase of electric vehicles, while Maharashtra ranks fourth. The battery-operated vehicles have been mooted as one of the important pollution control measures in the country.

A number of old diesel cars plying in the city contributes to Delhi’s pollution. The Delhi government in its budget this year had announced the subsidy of around Rs 5,500 per electric 2-wheeler to be paid directly to the purchaser of the electric vehicles. However, those who purchased electric vehicles between April 1 and June 30- period are now running from pillar to post to get the promised amount credited to their account.

Earlier, the subsidy to the purchasers of the electronic vehicle was given directly by the dealers of electronic vehicles to the purchasers, which in turn, was reimbursed by the Delhi government. However, the new Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has decided to credit the subsidy amount directly to the accounts of the purchasers.

Members of SMEV told dna the Delhi government’s decision to stop the release of subsidy to the purchasers, who bought the green vehicles between the April to June period has made people wary of buying the electronic vehicles. This had led to a sharp drop in the sales of electronic vehicles in the last few months in Delhi, which is grappling with the problem of severe air pollution.

According Sohinder Gill, director of corporate affairs of SMEV, while the sales of electronic vehicles have jumped by 25 per cent countrywide between April and June this year, it has dropped by 50 per cent in Delhi itself.

“Despite bringing the problem so many times in the notice of the Delhi government, they are yet to arrive at a solution. Although they have communicated that for those who purchased green vehicles July onwards will get the subsidies. Moreover, there has been no communication from the government regarding the VAT structure of green vehicles and who will have to pay it,” Gill said, adding that central government in a circular has notified the state government to give exemption of Road Tax and VAT on electric vehicles. Purchasers of green vehicles are now afraid they will lose out on these incentives.

Earlier, the VAT was paid by Delhi Pollution Control Committee for electric vehicles. To boost eco-friendly vehicles sales, the central government in April this year has launched a FAME India scheme that will provide Rs 795 crore support till 2020 for the manufacturing and sale of electric as well as hybrid vehicles.

A senior official from the state environment department said that the solution to this problem has already been worked out. “Since both the union and the Centre announced subsidies, a solution on combining the two subsidies to reach at a specific amount was being worked out. The process has been completed and will be communicated to the purchasers soon,” the official said.