Electric mobility to help save Rs60,000-cr annually: Anant Geete

The scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric (FAME) vehicles offering incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles, will help in annual saving of fuel worth Rs60,000 crore besides containing pollution, minister for heavy industries Anant Geete said.

"The biggest challenge for the auto sector today is related to environment. Under the scheme, the government has decided to invest Rs14,000 crore. Due to this investment, we would be able to save fuel worth about Rs60,000 crore. This means, definitely it will help in controlling pollution also," the minister said at the convention orgainised by the automotive industry.

The FAME India scheme, launched last year by the government to promote eco-friendly vehicles, offers incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs29,000 for bikes and Rs1.38 lakh for cars.

The scheme is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission and envisages annual spending of Rs795 crore in the first two fiscals to support the scheme.

Auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), in turn, has urged the government to increase the outlay under the FAME scheme and also extend the coverage of the scheme to more cities in the country in order to push demand for hybrid and electric vehicles.

"We request the government to come out with the much larger outlay. It is important that the very scheme, which is today applicable only in some cities, is extended to the entire country," SIAM president Vinod Dasari said at the 56th Annual Convention of SIAM.

This is the second year of the two-year pilot FAME scheme and the industry has seen quite encouraging response from the customers, he said. "More than 80,000 electric and hybrid vehicles have been sold till now," he added.

Dasari also asked the government to create a roadmap for reducing carbon emissions, ensuring safety and bringing fuel efficiency, in consultation with the industry. "There is an urgent need for creating a roadmap on emissions, safety and fuel efficiency regulations that can provide us a clear direction for 5-10 years," Dasari, who is also the managing director of Ashok Leyland, said.

The roadmap should be prepared after consultation with various stakeholders and not be changed due to any external influence, he added. He also demanded that a single ministry and a single agency deal with the issues related to the auto industry, saying that at present multiple ministries were involved and most of them have little knowledge about the sector.

On the goods and services tax, he said the industry is waiting for the clarity on GST rates. The government should not fix more than two rates for passenger vehicles.

Assuring full support to the auto industry, the minister hoped the implementation of the GST law would help the sector most. However, he said, it is a proven fact that burning of fuel is not the only reason for pollution.

To this, the minister said the FAME scheme was for the entire country and not restricted to any town or city and that consumers anywhere in the country can avail of the scheme.

The minister assured full support to the auto industry and said the implementation of GST law will help the auto sector most.

The auto industry will be benefited from the ease of doing business and reduction in excise duty, Geete added.

Further, he said India is a country of young population and the auto industry should take benefit of this demographic dividend.

He also asked the auto industry body SIAM to indulge in continuous dialogue with the government to raise their issues and concerns.

"We should meet once in every six months. There should be a continuous dialogue," he added.