The Auto Recall Policy proposed by SIAM to be trashed by the government
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If the car manufacturers were allowed to have things their way, a recall for manufacturing defect would not have been mandatory and the companies would not have to pay any penalty on such recalls. According to a senior official, the centre will reject the guidelines proposed by Society of Indian Automobiles Manufacturers (SIAM) which makes the recalls voluntary and excuse the companies of any penalties. A structured and mandatory recall policy is to be discussed by the ministries involved in the automotive industry in a high-priority meeting to be held later this month. SIAM is all set to release its voluntary code on July 2, 2012.
Countries like United States, Japan and South Korea work totally in contrast with such policy; there are strict protocols in case of recalls and there are specialised government bodies monitoring the issues. Toyota had to feel the heat from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US in 2010. The car maker had to recall four million vehicles over the issue of unwanted acceleration. According to an official, "This (SIAM's move) will serve no purpose as it has often been found that companies are not open to admitting faults when it is based on self-regulation."
In the past, the government had tried to bring about some significant changes with the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board Bill, 2010. However, the bill has not made any progress ever since due to the pending approval from Sitaram Yechury headed parliamentary committee. The committee suggested the centre to come up with a policy which would be comprehensive enough to cover the entire range of road safety issues. The bill only suggested a fine of Rs. 1O lacs on the manufacturer and no vehicle recalls in case of a fault.
According to Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), which is an independent agency monitoring the transport industry, compulsory automobile and tyre recalls require a statutory backing. The IFTRT, which played a major role in formulating the 2012 bill, said that the new voluntary code is an attempt by SIAM to overlook statutory law. S.P. Singh, Senior Official, IFTRT quoted, "The SIAM exercise at this juncture could at best be a disguised marketing effort and an attempt to deflect the pressure of setting up compulsory auto recall rules by the government”.
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