On November 26, former Planning Commission member Kirit Parekh said instead of levying a one-time tax on fresh purchases of diesel vehicles, a proposal had been made to the finance ministry to impose additional annual road tax of Rs 10000-20000 on diesel cars and an additional annual road tax of up to Rs 50000 on diesel sports utility vehicles.
Separately, senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been assisting the forest bench of the Supreme Court for about a decade, has sought a 25 per cent environment tax on diesel vehicles, arguing the benefits of the entire public transport system in Delhi switching to compressed natural gas were lost, as a large number of diesel cars were added to the city’s traffic everyday.
To encourage people to use public transport systems, Salve also sought an annual environmental compensation charge of two per cent (for petrol vehicles) and four per cent (for diesel vehicles) of the cost of vehicles.
"There are two issues. First, the imposition of additional taxes to recover the fuel subsidy on diesel vehicles. Second, environmental concerns are being raised assuming diesel technology is not clean. If diesel vehicles are meeting BS IV emission norms, as have been outlined by the government, there is no point saying they cause pollution. Instead, all old vehicles that don't meet emission norms should be taken off the roads," Mathur said.
P Balendran, vice-president (corporate affairs), General Motors India, agreed.
"Personal vehicles account for 1.03 per cent of the diesel consumed every year. The agriculture, power and truck segments consume 18.3 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 37.3 per cent, respectively. Then why should levies be considered for passenger vehicles?" he asks.
The Delhi-National Capital Region accounts for about 29 per cent of all passenger vehicles sold in the country.