The oil ministry has set up a high-level committee to help frame fuel economy rules for tractors to moderate their diesel consumption that constitutes nearly 7.7 per cent of India's annual diesel use.
The nine-member Steering Committee, headed by an additional secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, will submit an interim report in six months and a final one on the road map for development of the norms in 15 months, a ministry order said.
Tractors are used for different applications and the average fuel consumed for each application varies. On a rotavator, they may consume 7-8 litres per house while on a trailer, they may give an efficiency of 5-7 km per litre with the load. On static application like alternator or straw reaper, it could be 6-7 litres per house.
Diesel is the most consumed fuel in India, accounting for over 56 per cent of 82 million tonnes of petroleum products used in April-October.
As much as 57 per cent of diesel is used by automobiles, with trucks guzzling 28.25 per cent. Tractors, agri equipment and agri pumpsets use 13 per cent diesel while cars and SUVs use 13.15 per cent of the fuel.
"In view of growing dependence of the country on import of crude oil and the fact that the consumption of diesel by tractors is about 7.7 per cent, it has been felt imperative by the government to define various norms for economic usage of fuel/diesel," the order stated.
The panel will "develop road map for fuel efficiency norms of tractors in India" and finalise phase-wise implementation.
Also, it will recommend category-wise norms for tractors and define a methodology for measurement of fuel efficiency.
It will also examine norms and regulations being followed internationally and the effectiveness and possibility of replication to suit Indian conditions.
It will "consider and recommend to the appropriate government to take forward required legislation or Act or notification or suggest an amendment to an existing legislation, Act or notification for enforcement of norms and its promotion in India, if necessary".
The panel will consist of a joint secretary-level representative from the Department of Heavy Industries, the director general of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, the Director of Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India and the president of the Tractor Manufacturers Association.