No deadline for automobile companies to adopt electric vehicles: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari’s comments assumes significance as the Indian automobile sector is staring at a crisis, with continued slowdown in sales and job cuts over the past few months.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. (Pradeep Gaur/Mint)
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. (Pradeep Gaur/Mint)
Updated on Aug 21, 2019 04:40 PM IST
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New Delhi | By Shreya Nandi

The Centre has not set any deadline for automobile manufacturers to switch to electric mobility or to ban production of petrol, diesel vehicles, union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.

“There is no deadline as of now. The shift towards electric vehicle will happen in natural progression,” Gadkari said. However, the government will continue to promote cleaner, sustainable and alternative fuel, he said.

Gadkari’s comments assumes significance as the Indian automobile sector is staring at a crisis, with continued slowdown in sales and job cuts over the past few months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been aggressively pushing for a switch to zero-emission driven, cleaner and a cost-effective mode of transport. It wants India to become a global manufacturing hub for electric vehicles, giving a push to Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign and a reduction in the country’s fuel import bill.

Towards this, government think tank--National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog--in a closed door meeting on 21 June, expressed its intent to impose a ban on conventional two-wheelers under 150 cc by 2025, and three wheelers by 2023. Amid resistance from automobile makers, NITI Aayog asked them to spell out a plan for adoption of electric mobility.

The government has also been trying to incentivise the adoption of EVs by reducing tax on such vehicles and their chargers to 5% from 12% and 18%, respectively. Besides, in the Union Budget presented in July, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several incentives to boost electric mobility, including income tax rebate for buyers, bringing down import duty on certain parts of electric vehicles, among others.

The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles or FAME 2 scheme — to expand commercial vehicle fleet--was announced in March with an outlay of 10,000 crore.

Currently, there is no specific policy for electric vehicles. NITI Aayog is spearheading a roadmap towards the transition, in consultation with the ministry of road transport and highways, ministry of power, Bureau of Energy Efficiency and department of heavy industries as they will be responsible for implementing the concerned guidelines or regulations.

Another government official, on the condition of anonymity, told Mint that the Centre will give adequate time to automobile companies and will not impose any deadline without stakeholder consultation. The government will continue to encourage adoption of electric vehicles, but the given the state of the automobile industry, it will not enforce any deadline, said the official.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021