The Government of India (GoI) aims to aid the Indian automobile industry to lead globally in every aspect possible, Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister- Ministry of Heavy Industries, GoI, has said.
Speaking at the 'Towards Panchamrit' - Conference and Exposition on driving India towards clean mobility, at ICAT Manesar, he said the Government has removed the 252% customs duty currently levied on cars imported into India by notified testing agencies in the recently announced Union Budget 2023-24.
He mentioned that the previous Atal Bihari Government, under the INR 15,000 crore incentive in 2001, allowed facilities like ICAT to be established. The latest effort from the current Government will allow India to join the ranks of the six countries that provide testing and certification for foreign vehicles brought into the country, joining Japan, China, Taiwan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Dr Pandey noted.
The event organised by ICAT saw a Maruti Suzuki Brezza being crash tested at the facility to showcase the capabilities of the Indian testing agencies.
Interestingly, in June last year, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, announced that he has approved the Draft GSR Notification to introduce Bharat NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme).
Other Aspects Of Being Global Leaders
Beyond safety, Dr Pandey noted that the Government is equally focused towards helping the industry to transition to clean mobility, which is one of the five ‘Amrit’ announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the CoP26 submit at Glasgow in 2021.
To drive India towards cleaner mobility, the Government is giving a major push to clean fuels. The event was reminiscing the same, where manufacturers across the country showcased their latest technologies in terms of clean fuel.
Hanif Qureshi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, noted that industry players and stakeholders will lead the country towards net neutrality.
Interestingly, the exhibits at the event were not limited to EVs this time but also included hydrogen, ethanol, bio-diesel, and gas technologies. Apart from the three technical sessions held in the event's first half, the programme for hydrogen, EVs, biofuels, and gas-fuelled vehicles emphasised that clean mobility extends far beyond just electric vehicles.
Promoting hydrogen as a fuel for the future was one of the key highlights of the union budget 2023-24.
EVs: First Step Towards Clean Future
As the focus towards hydrogen, ethanol and other clean fuel options increase, it is important to remember that electric vehicles were one of the few clean mobility technologies India adopted in its early stages of moving toward a cleaner environment.
Kamran Rizvi, Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, noted that the pace of disruption is very fast, as evidenced by what the country has accomplished in terms of e-mobility in the last five years.
In this change, the GoI has played a very important role in helping the industry transit to new technologies through various schemes such as PLI ACC, PLI Auto and FAME II, he said, adding that the industry should also avail the benefits of MHI schemes and expressed confidence that Indian automotive industries will make a place for itself in the world market.
Krishan Pal Gujjar, MoS, Haryana, noted that the initiatives towards clean mobility will also give a boost to domestic manufacturing, help in employment generation, reduce dependence on exports, promote growth and development of the industry, and thereby help in achieving the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat in the automotive industry.
Speaking of domestic production, PMI Electro Mobility unveiled its 1000th India-made e-bus. Sudhendu J Sinha, Adviser (Infrastructure Connectivity & Electric Mobility), NITI Aayog, noted that India is the happening place for EVs.
He added that presently, NITI Aayog has a tender for 21,000 e-buses across the country through various initiatives. In contrast, though, the US and Canada combined have 1,500 registered e-buses while entire Europe registered close to 2,300 e-buses last year, he highlighted.
Sharing his view on ‘India becoming the manufacturing hub for EVs’, Sinha opined that ‘no compromise on quality’, ‘resilient supply chain’, ‘ethical production’ and ‘affordability’ will aid the Indian players to become the global leaders.
Meanwhile, to push India as the true global leader, ICAT also inaugurated its incubation centre for automotive products, which aims to nurture and hand-hold start-ups in developing market-ready products.
Interestingly, the automotive testing agency said that over ten start-ups displayed products which shall become market-ready with the support of ICAT facilities.