Sustainable Transportation Current Affairs
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis to promote electric vehicles (e-vehicles) in India. The purpose behind distinctive green number plates is easy identification of electric vehicles for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll.
As per estimate, India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles. It is projected to grow to about 5% of total vehicles in next five years. Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, e-vehicles accounted for barely about 1%. Government has undertaken various measure aimed at promoting e-vehicle’s use and government is considering exemption from permits for such vehicles.
Besides, MoRTH is also contemplating permitting youth in age group of 16-18 years to drive e-scooters, which are gearless and this will lead to a big demand for e-scooters. Currently, under the Motor Vheicles Act, 1988, those in the age group of 16-18 years are granted licence for below 50 CC gearless scooters.
It is also contemplating to ask taxi aggregators to have incremental share of e-vehicles from 2020 onwards, which could be 1% of the fleet every year. Similarly, all public transport operators are also mandated to provide 1% incremental fleet from 2020 onwards.
It is also going to request Union Finance Ministry for 50% rate of depreciation on EVs as against the rate of 15% for conventional vehicles. The proposals also include bringing down GST on batteries to 12% at par with the GST on EVs.
Number Plate regime in India
Currently, there are four kinds of number plates in India- white licence plates with numbers on black font for private cars, yellow plates with fonts in black for commercial vehicles, black plates with yellow font letters for self-driven rental vehicles and blue plates with white font letters for Embassies and High Commissions. Official vehicles of President and governors have red licence plates with the national emblem. Army vehicles follow different registration system given by Defence Ministry.
The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has signed an implementation agreement with German firm GIZ GmbH for technical cooperation in implementation of transport projects in Coimbatore, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi. The main objective of these projects are to improve planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport.
Under this agreement, an amount of Euro 4 million (approximately Rs 29 crore) through GIZ will be envisaged for this purpose over a period of three years. The agreement was signed in line with Technical Cooperation enumerated by Government of Germany for Urban Mobility in India during Annual Negotiations and Consultations between India and Germany in 2015 which was later formalised with MoU between two governments encompassing this project. The project will give desired impetus in three major interventions proposed under Smart City Mission of MoHUA viz. ITS-based transport solutions, non-motorised vehicles and last mile connectivity.