Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), on Tuesday said that priority of the government is to develop indigenous, low carbon, sustainable, economically viable, pollution-free and cost-effective transportation system, which also provides comfort to the poor.
While launching the India Roadmap on Low Carbon and Sustainable Mobility: Decarbonisation of Indian Transport Sector report developed by the industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and supported by knowledge partners, WWF-India, Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, Gadkari said that the government will play the role of a facilitator and support the private sector in its initiatives for developing sustainable transportation systems.
Gadkari said that the industry should consider various aspects of sustainable transportation system that comprise low carbon fuels, electric vehicles, water transportation, conversion of diesel vehicles to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG), and use of ethanol, methanol and hydrogen fuels for vehicles. Industry should then reach out to concerned state governments and ministries and suggest changes in the policies for developing implementable and economically viable projects.
Gadkari said that the industry should look at public-private partnerships (PPPs) and adopt an integrated approach for developing new models of transportation. Talking about the need to decongest metro cities, he urged the industry to create industrial clusters and smart cities. He added that to decrease migration of rural population to urban areas, there was a need to concentrate on upliftment of agriculture sector, tribal and village population.
Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI & Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group said that the roadmap recognised congestion and air pollution at the heart of the problem to decarbonise, and recommended a greater thrust on public transportation, sustainable fuels and shifting the paradigm of building infrastructure for mobility of vehicles to building infrastructure for mobility of people. She added that this major initiative led by FICCI had finally culminated after two years of hard work.
Dr Reddy said that FICCI was committed to work with the government for a transition to a low carbon mobility ecosystem. The launch of the India Roadmap entailed working on its actionable recommendations with the government, in a spirit of partnership and shared vision towards sustainable mobility.
In his presentation, Bharat Salhotra, Chair, FICCI Core Group on India Roadmap for Low Carbon and Sustainable Mobility and Managing Director, Ronmas India Private Ltd, highlighted the eight distinct components in the roadmap. He added that this FICCI-led initiative focused on building shared, connected, clean and sustainable mobility roadmap for India.
Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF India said that in the current context, there was a need to bring in safeguards for COVID-19 going forward. This should be in addition to the eight distinct components mentioned in the report. He added that India was committed to its share of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the Paris Accord.
Dr Patrick Oliva, Co-Founder, Paris Process on Mobility and Climate said that economic viability of projects was an important aspect for developing low carbon and sustainable transportation systems. He added that private sector needed to invest in building low carbon transportation system and FICCI, along with the government, can facilitate such projects.
Vatsala Joseph, Interim CEO, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation said that the India Roadmap on Low Carbon and Sustainable Mobility was a bottom-up stakeholder driven actionable vision with an operational focus for the transport sector in the context of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the objectives of India’s NDCs.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that FICCI would work in tandem with the government for transforming the transportation system in India. He added that FICCI will advocate for change in the transportation system and join the government in its efforts.
The eight distinct components highlighted in the India Roadmap report include, urban transformation for healthier, inclusive lifestyles and efficient, resilient, prosperous cities; low-carbon energy supply strategy; improving intermodal and mode-wise system efficiencies; optimising supply chains to manage freight transport emissions; avoiding vehicle kilometres for commuting, shopping and accessing services; providing low-carbon solutions for the rural (non-urban) populations; accelerating action on adaptation in the transport sector; and large-scale deployment of economic instruments and leveraging finance.
The key message of the roadmap emphasises on re-building governance structures; creating paradigm shift from ‘building infrastructure to move vehicles’ to ‘building infrastructure to move people’; incentivising usage rather than ownership of vehicles as well as usage of public transportation in urban and rural areas; integrating multiple modes of transport for people and goods for seamless mobility; transit-oriented development (TOD) and last mile connectivity; incentivising usage of sustainable fuels and renewable based electricity in transport; integrating climate adaptation aspects into urban and transport planning; economic instruments to facilitate transition to low carbon and sustainable mobility transport options; and promoting research into new, advanced technologies.