Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that the Central Government was aiming at creating core global competencies in India by facilitating the seamless integration of the local automotive industry with the world. In this direction, it was attempting to create an ecosystem to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in the country.
Addressing the ninth edition of the ‘Auto Serve 2020 Electric Mobility Conference 2020: Seizing Opportunities in New Normal’, Gadkari exhorted the auto industry players to come together to work jointly towards achieving broader national agenda of reducing pollution.
He elaborated several steps taken up by the government to promote electric vehicles, including a reduction in GST to 5 per cent and allowing delinking of battery cost of two and three-wheelers from vehicle cost as it accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the price.
The minister said that the battery charging ecosystem was very important and the government was planning to set up at least one electric vehicle charging kiosk at around 69 thousand petrol pumps across the country to induce people to migrate to electric mobility.
Gadkari also said, “The government is also working towards making India a global automobile manufacturing hub in the next five years. This is my dream. This will also contribute to fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.”
He stressed that India was poised to become a global automobile manufacturing hub in the next five years. This, he felt, was possible as the Indian automobile industry had made significant strides in terms of the development of different designs and models, a robust R&D, a huge market, stable government framework and bright and young engineering minds. He added that the country was already the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers globally.
Considering the huge potential of the sector the government had earmarked over Rs 510 billion for this sector under the production linked incentive (PLI), the highest amongst the ten champion sectors. He also stated that there would be a requirement of about 25 million skilled manpower in the automobile sector soon. This would be a very significant development as the industry was going to create maximum jobs and growth, he added.
Gadkari further called upon the automobile industry to push for manufacturing flex engines, which had the versatility to use petrol, ethanol or compressed natural gas (CNG) as fuels. He stressed that the Indian auto industry needed to follow the example of Brazil and the US in this regard. He exuded confidence that the Indian automobile industry would utilise the opportunities being created by alternate and less polluting fuels like CNG, hydrogen and electricity.
Gadkari also said that the government was working towards making an e-highway on the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Expressway. He added that the auto sector should look at making different variants including double-decker busses to cater to the emerging needs.