Why should vehicles of senior citizens be exempt from the national scrap policy?

(All vehicles are not like senior citizens — who can be scrapped by societies from all aspects of economic welfare unless they keep singing and writing!)

Tejinder Singh Bedi
@tsinghbedi

Pic — Courtesy — dreamstime.com/stock-photos

According to a recent notification, the latest revision affected in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules of 2021 vide 23rd amendment shall be coming into force with effect from April 1, 2022.

As per provisions of these amendments, hereafter registration renewal of a 15-year-old car will now cost Rs 5,000, compared to the existing fee of Rs 600 almost nine times the cost for new registration. For motorbikes that are more than 15 years old, the renewal charge is fixed at Rs 1,000, compared to the existing Rs 300, more than 3 times. Additionally the fitness renewal certificate for a light motor vehicle will be Rs 7500 and for old medium goods or passenger motor vehicles Rs 10,000. The notification further says an additional fee of Rs 50 for each day of delay after the expiry of certificate of fitness shall also be levied. As per the notification, in case of delay in applying for renewal of certificate of registration, an additional fee of Rs 300 for delay of every month in case of private vehicles.

Considering most senior citizens are not entitled to any pensionary supports and the interest income on their preferred mode of life-time savings as fixed deposits has also been consistently declining; if their old vehicles are also scrapped, while on the one hand they will not be able to afford buying a new vehicle at this ripe phase of their lives, on the other they may also find the public transport services like hired taxis becoming increasingly unaffordable and undependable due to ever increasing costs of rentals and fuel on demonstration for long.

It is an established fact that people older than 60 or so are normally not offered any gainful employment and as such their commutation for employment related pursuits gets largely minimised. Even in business or other activities the usage of their vehicles reduces considerably after this threshold with maximum frequent drives limited to driving to visit hospitals or nearby places for routine necessities or to some places of worship. As such the average running of their vehicles gets reduced to almost a negligible level actually adding to the life cycle of their vehicles; if not their own life cycles!

Considering the above backdrop on a holistic rationale, I feel there is a strong case for extending the life span of old vehicles owned by senior citizens in their names as until March 31, 2022 by another five years thereby meaning 20 years run for vehicles owned by them instead of 15 proposed for all before scrapping the same. Another possible way of curbing longer usage of their old vehicles can be to restrict their movements within the State boundaries of their place of existing residence as recorded in their Aadhaar cards. If there may be any apprehension of misuse of this facility by the younger population in their families, the data for ownership as a senior citizen as on March 31, 2022 can be taken as a cut off for these exemptions. The steep hike in the fees proposed to be charged on renewal of registrations and/or for certification of fitness also needs to be sharply moderated for this population. As for the vehicles alone, all vehicles are not like senior citizens — who can be scrapped by societies in any aspect of economic welfare unless they keep singing or writing for survival!

(*Author Tejinder Singh Bedi is a former technocrat, a people management, CSR Adviser, free-lance writer and a passionate singer)