All technical work was completed over a year ago
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised to look into the delay in notifying fuel efficiency standards. They are pending with the Power Ministry since almost a year after they were ready.
Dr. Singh’s assurance came in response to a letter sent to him by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh last week. “I was shocked to learn very recently that mandatory fuel efficiency standards for cars have yet to be notified. All the technical work had been done over a year ago and these standards were to be notified by December 2011,” Mr. Ramesh had said.
The standards for fuel mileage targets, based on the weight of a car and mandatory labelling norms, have been in the pipeline for more than four years, but have been delayed due to strong opposition from the auto industry.
After years of wrangling, a final draft was brought out by the Power Ministry’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency close to a year ago. With automakers demanding a dilution of the norms, the matter was referred to the Prime Minister’s Office in March 2012. The PMO gave its nod in August.
Mr. Ramesh, during his stint as Environment Minister, was at the forefront of those demanding stringent norms and highlighted India’s progress in this field at global climate change summits. In his letter, he noted that both the United States and China have notified mandatory fuel efficiency standards in the last two years.
Seeking Dr. Singh’s “personal interest” in the issue, Mr. Ramesh said “the notification would send a powerful signal of our deep commitment [towards] saving costly fuel, protecting the environment and combating climate change.”