February 2, 2008

The Nano opportunity

Time to address urban transport in a holistic manner

Rohit Pradhan

Singling out the Nano for punitive taxes, as advocated by Sunita Narain, director of the New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment, is not the solution. First, it merely punishes Tata for its vision, innovation and ability to deliver a cheap car. Second, the concept of “polluter pays” has been well-accepted the world over as an appropriate policy tool to ameliorate pollution. Generally, cars with larger engines cause more pollution. Therefore, Ms Narain would be on firmer ground if she argued that a suitable policy response would be to encourage the movement towards compact cars by imposing higher taxes on larger cars to ensure full recovery of the social costs they impose. At the same time, cars like the Nano should not exempted from meeting existing and future emission requirements.

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