Vehicle Scrappage Policy - Views of Dr. Ravi Prakash, President, FHVI
The soon to be introduced scrappage or scrapping policy has put a question mark on the future of historical and classic vehicles in India. Our Consulting Editor Bob Rupani, spoke with Dr. Ravi Prakash, President FHVI (Federation of Historic Vehicles of India) to try and understand the possible future scenario and solutions.
Bob Rupani - The government of India will soon be introducing a 'Scrappage Policy'. Do you think it will actually help reduce pollution and improve our overall air quality?
Ravi Prakash - Yes the 'Scrappage Policy' is required in this country, primarily to manage the older commercial and government vehicles which have been overused and maintained very poorly, resulting in their high emissions contributing to the depleting air quality. Replacing these vehicles with those of better technology will definitely facilitate an improvement in the current air quality.
Dr. Ravi Prakash, President FHVI (Federation of Historic Vehicles of India)
BR - From what we know historical cars that are over 50 years old, maybe exempted from being scrapped. What are your views on this?
RP - FHVI (Federation of Historic Vehicles of India) is in fact working with the government on reducing the age from 50 to 30 years and older, in line with the FIVA (Federation Internationale Vehicules Anciens) norms in order to protect all the historic vehicles of the country. These automobiles form a vital part of the 'Indian Automotive Evolution' and hence it is highly critical to protect them for the generations to come.
Doc as he is better known, has a nice collection of classic cars that he loves driving
BR - The famed Cartier Concourse D' Elegance event introduced a special 'Indian Heritage Class', which increased the popularity of made in India classic cars. And now we have many Fiat, Ambassador and even Contessa Club's, and so on. In case the limit is set to 50 years, what happens to these historic cars that are not so old? It will obviously also mean the scrapping of the iconic Maruti Suzuki SS 80, which started the auto revolution in India? Your views on this?
RP - As mentioned we are primarily requesting the government to reduce the age to 30 years, that is cars currently up to 1991. This will ensure the protection of the "Indian Heritage Class" and as the rule will be dynamic, meaning cars from 1992 next year, 1993 the year after and so on, the number of historic vehicles protected will increase, thereby safeguarding our iconic Indian manufactured cars as well. I would also like to add that it is very heartening to see so many young collectors being proactive in protecting these treasures. I encourage more to come forward and preserve our country's motoring heritage.
Doc is one of the leading faces of the Indian historical car movement
BR - Are you aware how the government will decide if a car is historic and does not need to be scrapped? Will you or your organization be involved in this decision making?
RP - We are working with the government to formulate the norms to determine the classification of 'Historic Vehicles', as per the guidelines followed by the world historic body FIVA, which is also the official partner of UNESCO. As FHVI is an all India body, our members include Padma Vibhushan awardees, members of parliament (MP) and others well connected with the present government. Many of them have collectively been putting forth our thoughts and following up on the above mentioned policies with the government. We will also be meeting all the concerned decision makers before the end of the present ongoing parliament session, to ensure that the historic vehicle movement in our country is given a special priority and all the collectors irrespective of the model or number of vehicles they own, will all be protected and encouraged.
FHVI's inaugural event, the Royal Classic Car Drive to Mysore was held in October 2018
BR - Let's take an example. What if someone gets a car as a wedding gift, or wins it as a prize in a contest. Such a car may have a huge emotional value for the family and they may never want to part with it, or scrap it. Will there be a way for them to retain it?
RP - Emotional connects form one of the most fundamental driving forces behind collecting and protecting historic vehicles. If these individuals become a part of the FHVI in one way or another, we can help safeguard their vehicle by giving it a status recognized by the government. All the clubs in India also have to work as a single unit to protect the historic vehicles of the country. To protect and preserve these vehicles on our Indian roads is our primary concern and we will put in everything it takes to ensure this.
Participants of the FHVI Royal Classic Car Drive at the Mysore Palace
BR - What in your view is an appropriate scrappage policy for India that will also cater to the interest of car collectors and classic car enthusiasts?
RP - The scrappage policy as such is appropriate. When it comes to historic vehicles though, they must be regarded as a special category and separate regulations need to be made with respect to their registration, taxation, fitness and emission. The same yardstick used for current vehicles cannot be applied for historic vehicles. Hence we are working closely with the government to ensure this is addressed and the country's automotive evolution is not only maintained but owners can also drive or ride their historic vehicles on the roads for events and special occasions with great pride.
Doc has also participated in some international classic car events