Supreme Court order restricting diesel commercial cabs in NCR: Action by NASSCOM

In an effort to reduce pollution in the NCR region, the Supreme Court on 30th April 2016 refused to provide any further extension on plying diesel cabs in the region. The order had a profound impact on IT-BPM companies, especially BPM companies in the region. The region is one of the largest contributors to the BPM industry with a 20% share, directly employing more than 250,000 people, of which 38% are women. As a result of the order – a large number of BPM business in NCR had to invoke BCP and clients were unhappy with such disruptions (unlike a natural disaster) in their mission-critical work. The industry was staring at a huge reputational risk, that India is not a stable country to do business with.

A multi-pronged approach was strategized that included – a strong outreach to government along with a planned outreach to the media, to communicate the concerns and impact on the industry. The press briefing captured the industry’s eagerness to meet the SC order, but the challenges in meeting with the order overnight (such as limited availability of 7-8 seater vehicles, filling stations, non-availability of technology to convert diesel to CNG), and the issues of clarity on cab licenses; issues of women’s safety, scale of operation, potential reputation risk and loss of business were also communicated. Many mainstream media / electronic channels carried this as their main stories. NASSCOM made representations to Delhi Police, Ministry of IT, Ministry of Road Transport, DeiTy, Secretary Heavy Industries, and the Solicitor General of India with formal recommendations.

NASSCOM also impleaded itself and was able to convince the Supreme Court of the need for a phased implementation of its earlier order, to give the industry time to cope with the directions given. Accordingly, the Supreme Court directed the following: Existing diesel taxis under All India Tourist Permit to ply till the expiry of their license in NCR region, for point to point service (this is for 5 years and the existing fleets will have varying periods left from these 5 years); the Court treats BPM transportation as a point to point service. These licenses will not be renewed once they expire for plying within the NCR region, but can be used for tourism purposes under a new license.

NASSCOM provided an assurance on behalf of its members that in future contracts with transport providers, the BPM companies would ensure that the vehicles provided were either CNG/Petrol, once the existing AITP permits for diesel taxis being used by its members expire.

NASSCOM BPM Council will work with NCR companies to help them meet the objective. A roundtable is planned on 1 July to brainstorm how the industry will comply to this.

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