The 54th SIAM Annual Convention was a harbinger of good hope and prospects for the Indian automotive industry. The government has extended full support to the auto industry in an attempt to get rid of the uncertainty that has existed despite months of positive sales.
Reiterating the government’s welcoming attitude, Anant Gangaram Geete, the minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, promised a ripe period for the Indian automobile industry in the next five years. Inaugurated by Vikram Kirloskar, president, SIAM and vice-chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the premier industry event was attended by captains of industry, all stakeholders and policy makers.
In his speech, the minister also supported PM Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a hub for manufacturing. He said that the huge potential of the market combined with the channelized efforts of the government will allow the industry to generate employment and improve the country’s economy. He added that the success of the heavy industries ministry shall depend majorly on the success of the automobile industry. He spoke of the Union government’s plan to enable facilitators in terms of setting up sea lanes, joining them to the road infrastructure and extending two-lane roads to four lanes.
An expenditure of over Rs. 2,00,000 crore is envisaged to be spent over the next 5 years in constructing concrete roads to help improve demand for commercial vehicles and passenger cars, he commented. Geete said the government is also working on electric and hybrid vehicles under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP); with the pilot project to kick-off in Delhi within a few days. Further, he suggested that industry and ministry officials meet every three months to review the progress.
Thanking the government for its support, SIAM president Vikram Kirloskar highlighted five key areas that need to be addressed to ensure robust growth in the automotive industry – namely fiscal policy that assures lower taxation and continuation of the lower excise duty rates. He said a draft Auto Fuel Policy roadmap has been readied and asked for government approval for it so that industry could have adequate time to prepare for the necessary changes in vehicular and component level technologies. He underlined the need for a safety roadmap that requires concurrent action in five areas – road infrastructure, vehicle technology, enforcement of road rules, training and skills of drivers and post-crash assistance.
Vikram Kirloskar concluded by saying that India had come of age to have a globally comparable competition law. Simply copying European Competition law principles in India without first laying down the aftermarket rules would hurt the cause of road safety and quality of service. He further added that safety, emissions, and fuel efficiency need to be looked at holistically and implemented by a single agency which would have a command in all the areas; only then would it be possible to formulate effective regulations that are consistent and not conflicting in any way.