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Why all cars manufactured after 1983 in India should have had a minimum of 20 to 25 years life span?

New Delhi, 05 May 2022 (UTN). It was in 1983 that the first modern technology affordable 796 hatchback car, the Maruti 800 was launched in India. This author being the first plant personnel manager of its manufacturing unit in Gurgaon has been connected with this organization since its inception and with many other Japanese automotive manufacturing companies too that opened shop in India subsequently.
Without doubt the entry made by suzuki literally revolutionized the manufacturing industry. The age-old FIAT (Indian models only)  and Ambassador were soon wiped out and forgotten. Gradually, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and many other Japanese as well as European brands that are equally good  found a great market in India.
All of these just for one reason – continuously evolving technological interventions. And all because of some highly advanced world class manufacturing practices followed by leading global giants like the FIAT & the Japanese auto makers.
Customers were rightly told that the new age vehicles can easily last upto two lakh plus kilometers of run with little or no major maintenance costs which has also been amply proved since 1983 – for nearly four decades already.
Under the changing scenario, would it not have been logical to extend the life time period for road tax to 20 to 25 years for all such vehicles manufactured and sold after 1983? On the contrary, we find that NCR rules are restraining the life cycle of such vehicles to just 15 years in case of petrol driven and 10 years in case of diesel driven vehicles.
Is this not a disgrace to the advanced technologies bought out from the Japanese and the European car manufacturing leaders at huge payback costs to the nation besides the continuing royalties? Should the global technology partners not consider this as an insult to their continuous improvement practices as much in general to all the engineers, technologists and the engineering profession itself too?
As per latest statistics available on the net, India currently has 13.8 crore senior citizens in its estimated population of 140 crores, who are expected to cross 20 crores by 2030. Out of this, presently Delhi and its NCR region may have about 16 lakh senior citizens. A rough estimate leads me to believe that the NCR region might have about 45 lakh vehicles registered as private cars out of which no more than 3.60 lakhs might be in the names of the senior citizens and a much lesser quantum out of this as 10 to 15 year old as such.
While thus on the one hand, the number of such cars with the senior citizens is much less on the other is it not completely illogical to expect senior citizens in age groups of 60 and above to shelve out a hefty portion of their life long savings in buying a new car with the majority having no pension, no other supports or sources of income and already getting closer to the life expectancy of an average Indian at 69.66 years as on date and still grappling with their old age medical expenses, looming threats of newly emerging variants of covid, unabated inflation and reducing interest rates on their savings.
With the above backdrop in mind I had also recently initiated a petition to seek this change and I am glad to share here that it is all set to cross support of 25000 members in a day or so  post almost double the viewership and nearly 8000 re shares from those supporting it.
If the current view of scrapping 10, 15 year old vehicles is not reviewed in the NCR, sooner or later car owners in all other Metro cities may also be falling in line to be facing more or less similar music. And to be honest, not just the senior citizens but even the younger ones who maintain their vehicles pretty well and perfectly fit despite its age would be losers by default in large numbers.
The auto industry is hiking its prices day in and day out and with the current inflationary pressures on the economy hit so badly by the long drawn pandemic and its newly emerging variants season after season – the middle class working population is going to be gravely dented in the coming few years. And needless to say the affected population is going to have many retired or due to retire bureaucrats, technocrats, medicos, lawyers, chartered accountants, academicians and other business and trading professionals as the largest affected populace. Its only the very few above 60 or so who being in politics or otherwise supported by the government or corporate houses provided – cars that may not feel the heat of such a decision and may continue chilling in their air conditioned chambers conveniently as if their next generations too may remain insulated from the adverse effects of such decisions for ever!
The average life expectancy of an Indian today is 69.66 years and at least in my case, I am almost nearing it by next year when my car will also be completing 15 years. I do hope the year left will provide me with an opportunity to enhance the lifetime of both my car and myself by another ten years at least through this petition!!
Tejinder Singh Bedi.

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