The two-day global mobility summit, which begins on Friday, will present a framework for an all-encompassing mobility plan for India, said Rajiv Kumar, vice chairperson, NITI Aayog, who was guest of honour at the auto industry’s 58th Annual Convention.
The plan is based on inputs from every state. "It's just the beginning," said Kumar.
Touted to be the first of its kind, close to 2,200 participants from all over the world are expected to attend the event, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also chairperson of the NITI Aayog. The inaugural session will include remarks by 11 global chief executive officers.
Kumar said the NITI Aayog was finalising a framework for the auto industry and coordinating with state governments to form a task force and come up with a paper for mobility. He added the auto sector was facing huge disruption as it moved from IC (internal combustion) engines to electric vehicles. He, however, stressed the need to invest more in innovation and R&D.
Among other things, the government is set to announce the second phase of FAME (fast adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles) during the summit. The first phase of the scheme, which incentivises manufacturers to invest in electric mobility, is set to expire by the end of this month.
India’s auto industry is preparing for a slew of changes amid Modi’s push for cleaner technologies and safety regulations. The country has the dubious reputation of being the world’s most polluted. The highest number of road accidents takes place in India. Nearly three persons died every 10 minutes in road accidents in India last year, according to an official report yet to be published.
Kumar said India was poised to take advantage of the disruption arising out of automated, connected, electric and shared mobility.
Abhay Firodia, president, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), called for moderate taxes on automobiles; a consistent, long-term road map; a uniform regulatory framework; and a centralised nodal ministry for the sector.
“High taxes don't allow vehicles to grow to their full potential and the ability of the industry to contribute to economic growth gets stunted,” said Firodia.
He pointed out taxes in some states were as high as 70 per cent of the price of a vehicle. The GST rates levied on automobile range from 28 per cent to 50 per cent, which is five times the average Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), which stands at 10 per cent, said Firodia.
Touching upon the government's electric mobility mission plan, Firodia said there was a need for a complete ecosystem for e-mobility. Most importantly, electric vehicles will be successful when consumer interests are taken into consideration.
Firodia pointed out the involvement of multiple ministries in regulation and policies pertaining to the sector was leading to confusion. "All regulations are interconnected. It's important these are handled in a centralised ministry," he said.
Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Anant G Geete said the government would soon come up with the new auto policy.