The Automotive Industry fully supports an ambitious aspiration of the Niti Aayog in bringing in Electric Mobility in the country as soon as possible. India is an aspiring Nation and keen not only to catch up with the world but to go beyond in the field of EVs. However, the ambition needs to be tempered with a practical approach and what is possible without needlessly disrupting the automotive industry, cautioned Mr. Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM.
The automotive industry, today, is facing multiple challenges of leapfrogging to BS VI emission norms, complying with many new safety norms etc., in the shortest time-frame ever attempted in the world. This is engaging the focused attention of the industry and involving huge investments of the order of Rs. 70,000-80,000 crores. Even before this investment is recovered, as per media reports, Government is proposing to ban sales of ICE based three wheelers within a short time frame of 2023 and to ban sales of less than 150 cc 2 wheelers by 2025. This seems to be impractical as well as untimely, said Mr. Wadhera.
The Indian automotive industry has always been highly proactive when it comes to fulfilling National interest. It has been a staunch supporter of Make in India even before the term was coined. The industry’s turnover is close to half of the manufacturing GDP, supports 37 million jobs and contributes 11% of the GST revenues of the country. It also supports a host of manufacturing and services industries.
Overall the auto industry is perhaps the only real success story of India’s manufacturing. It is imperative that this success story is not affected by undue haste in banning mature automotive technologies within the next 5-6 years in the hope that evolving EV technologies will fully replace the demand within that such a short period. Such unrealistic expectations and policies would only adversely affect the world No 1 two/three-wheeler industry but may not help in making EVs acceptable to the customer and the market, said Mr. Wadhera.
The automotive industry, specially the two/three-wheeler segment supports a large number of component suppliers in the small and medium sector, who are the real backbone of the auto industry. None of the stakeholders in the country – industry, Government nor the suppliers have any meaningful experience of EVs to even contemplate a complete 100% shift to 2/3 W EVs by 2023/2025, said Mr. Wadhera. In the current scenario, any policy to accelerate the transition to EVS would lead to a policy induced disruption which could result in significant damage to the auto industry and spell a big blow to the overall ecosystem of these MSMEs, with its related impact on employment, added Mr. Wadhera.
What is required is a well laid out roadmap for an ambitious EV rollout over a practical timeframe along with an integrated plan for setting up the necessary infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country, in consultation with all stakeholders. The auto industry under the aegis of SIAM will continue to closely partner with Government in ensuring a planned transformation towards electric vehicles and to build the Nation, Sustainably, said Mr. Wadhera