The government has lowered import duties on cars from the European Union, as part of their bilateral trade pact. A BMW 7 series, earlier priced at Rs 84 lakh, will cost Rs 68 lakh.
Don’t celebrate. In most cities, vehicular pollution impacts air pollution, leading to a slew of respiratory diseases, impacting children most of all. Evidence shows that urban Indian air is sub-standard.
Whose side is our government on? Anyone with even a modicum of public interest would never have taken this step. Frankly, to the developed world, India is a market. This should be accepted, not denied. But the problem is when one’s own policy makers think of Indians as agents of extreme, even iniquitous consumption. By letting some find it cheaper to buy a luxury car, they also force many other Indians to live with compromised health. Why should we be saddled with such decisions? The only way is not only to reverse this decision, but also, increase the tax.
What shall we do with CFLs?
All over India, well-meaning people have been misled into swapping their tube lights for CFLs. This was before better devices entered the market. The argument was that by using CFLs, you would use less energy, save money and help the environment. This idea was muddied internationally when dozens of groups pointed out that CFLs contained mercury, which was difficult to dispose off and very toxic. An Indian NGO even showed that Indian CFLs have at least 4 times more mercury than the ones used in the developed nations. The problem is that CFL and tube light disposal is not covered by any rules. Disposing these is so expensive, that disposal facilities run into losses. Without producers paying for their polluting products, we will continue to be poisoned. We need laws and accountability at once.