Friday, January 11, 2008

Environmentalists! Don't Oppose TATA Nano!

TATA Nano 1 lakh car India People's CarRatan Tata and his team at TATA motors had made India proud with the "World's Cheapest Car" - a disruptive innovation that has the potential to change the face of Global automotive industry. But Indian environmentalists like Sunita Narain are calling the government to tax the car "like crazy" and make sure that the car becomes economically nonviable. [Read the news here]. My first reaction to these news snippets is to question the Indianess of these environmentalists. Can't they see that TATA motors is giving wings to dreams of hundreds of Indians who want to own a car in their lifetime?. Can't see that Cars symbolizes an additional form of mobility and freedom to a lot of Indians. Yeah! Environmentalists have a point in raising the issue of lack of proper mass transit system in most cities in India. But Can't they see that the various benefits of TATA Nano like placing TATA & India in the global automotive map, its export potential, etc. outweighs the costs?

In an rediff article, Mritiunjoy Mohanty, Assistant Professor of IIM Calcutta has come in support of TATA Motors and explains(correctly) why criticizing Rs. 1 lakh car is wrong?

Other Reads
Disclaimer: I have never been a great supporter of Environmental concerns. Rather than supporting environmental issues blindly, I prefer a "Cost-Benefit Analysis" approach to issues raised by environmentalists.


Anonymous said...

I hope you will amplify your thought on why the view about lack of mass transit systems in our metros has any relevance. Obviously, you recognise the impossibility of a car-based solution for mass mobility. That is what the environmental movement has been arguing. The Nano has great relevance in smaller towns with little or mobility options, but then again, only for the middle class. Who will meet the mobility needs of India's illiterate, poor population? What is the fairness involved in some people driving around, warming up the planet, creating climate change issues that affect the less affluent citizens more? Why should they subsidise the lifestyle of those who can buy a Nano and want to dominate the roads, when they don't have the space to walk?

Unknown said...

@ digitaljourno,
I am not debating the point the point that most of the Indian metros lack a proper mass transit system... If it is the problem, the environmentalists should fight to bring one, not stop a product that is bringing fame to the whole nation.

TATA Nano has the potential to unleash an auto revolution (similar to IT revolution) which could be benefiting not only the middle class but also low level workers..

Global Warming is happening with or without Indians driving a car... And i don't think the pollution from the cars is the major reason for it. :)

For some people like you, car signifies means less space for people to walk, for others it means freedom(even with or without a mass transit system).. I suggest u read the article written by Mritiunjoy Mohanty..