Auto industry must work with government in country’s best interest to make it pollution free: Minister

Friday, July 26, 2019

Country must plan for battery waste disposal
New Delhi, 26 July 2019: The auto industry which has been facing a decline in the recent past, must get serious and work together with the government in country’s best interest to make it pollution free, Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Arvind Ganpat Sawant said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“We are such an industry which contributes seven per cent to the GDP, in the recent past we are seeing a decline, be serious about it, not that government should be, we both, let us join together and see what best we can do for the country,” said Mr Sawant in his inaugural address at ASSOCHAM International Conference on Electric Mobility.
Stating that while the government is giving subsidy for electric vehicles due to high battery costs, R&D initiatives must be carried out in terms of metals, chemicals used to manufacture batteries to reduce their costs.
“We are here to give support to all, first for mass transportation,” he added.
Talking about infrastructure, he impressed upon the need to set up solar powered charging stations for electric vehicles.
Further, the minister also said that like with IT boom came the problem of e-waste, similarly India must also think in terms of battery waste disposal. “Let us come up with a proposal to clear battery waste disposal because when we want to create a pollution free country, pollution created by battery waste should not be there.”
Recalling his recent meeting with combustion engine manufacturers, the minister said, he was told that there are employees and ancillary units dependent on this, whereas in case of EVs, both components and employees required will be less. “So the issue is what will happen to present employees, how are you going to go in this direction.”
He urged the industry to come up with suggestions in this regard. “I feel you are the people who can guide me, as to how to go ahead with this, because we also need to generate employment in India.”
Talking about the government’s initiatives on e-mobility, he said while the Department of Heavy Industry had invited Expression of Interest (EoI) seeking proposals for availing incentives under the Fame Scheme Phase II for deploying 5,000 electric buses on operational-cost-model basis across select cities, it received 15,000 applications to the magnitude of three times.
He further said that with a view to promote electric mobility and incentivise the manufacturers, the government brought down the GST rate from 12 per cent to five per cent and removed cess.
In his address, ASSOCHAM president, Mr B.K. Goenka said, “The government has taken cognizance of e-mobility as the way forward and proposed to become an e-vehicle country by 2030.  This decision is timely and would enhance the potential of the sector.  Towards this target, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has already put in place the required policy framework in the form of FAME scheme, which would encourage the faster adoption of e-vehicles.”
“The central and state governments need to work together and play a more facilitating role to make the shift to e-vehicles viable and attractive, we hope these challenges are addressed and resolved at the earliest. ASSOCHAM is committed to playing the role of a platform to interface between government and industry to pave the way,” added Mr Goenka.
Amid others who addressed the conference included: Mr Anil Srivastava, principal consultant (Electric Mobility), NITI Aayog; Mr Kavan Mukhtyar, Partner and Leader, Automotive, PwC India; Ms Sulajja Firodia Motwani, vice-chairperson, Kinetic Engineering Ltd.; Mr Nishant Arya, chairman, ASSOCHAM Council for Sustainable Road Transportation & Electric Mobility; Mr Arun Jain, co-chair and Ms Preeti Malhotra, co-chair.
ASSOCHAM initiated its endeavour of value creation for Indian industry in 1920. It was established by promoter Chambers, representing all regions of India. Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations, and serving over 4.5 lakh members across India. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of Knowledge for Indian industry, which is all set to redefine the dynamics of growth and development in the Knowledge Based Economy. More information available on
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Manju Negi            
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