The pilot scheme for promotion of electric and hybrid vehicles will continue beyond March 31 as the modalities for subsidising clean vehicles under FAME India are yet to be worked out, a top official has said.
"The new scheme is not coming. We are extending the old scheme for a few months. The pilot will continue for a few more months till we finalise our new policy.
"We have not decided about the funding pattern but it has been agreed by every stakeholder that we must go for the public transportation where the frequency of use of vehicles is higher, so that the impact (on lowering pollution) is much more," Secretary in the Department of Heavy Industries Girish Shankar told PTI.
To promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government has been offering incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs 29,000 for bikes and Rs 1.38 lakh for cars under the FAME India scheme launched last year.
The scheme has been in a pilot phase, and a nation-wide rollout was scheduled from April 1.
FAME India - Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India - is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. In Budget 2017-18, Rs 175 crore has been earmarked for the FAME India scheme as against the revised and budget estimates of Rs 122.90 crore for the current financial year.
However, experts believe that the provision of funds is insufficient to incentivise the use of electric vehicles.
Shankar also spoke on the meeting of the government's top brass including several Ministers earlier this month to promote large-scale use of electric vehicles in the country.
"The meeting was for a consensus building as the Finance Ministry has to provide funds for the scheme. We also discussed what should be the future of the electric mobility policy," he said.
According to experts, several factors including higher cost of vehicles, power outages, lack of charging infrastructure and dearth of facilities for eco-friendly disposal of batteries to curb pollution are among the factors inhibiting consumers from buying electric vehicles in India.
"Of course, the (lack of) charging infrastructure is a major concern. We are finalising the protocol for charging. We will be coming out with our new policy soon," Shankar said.
The Department of Heavy Industries is the nodal agency for implementing the FAME India scheme.
In 2013, the then UPA government had also launched the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020. It aimed to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.
It had set an ambitious target to achieve sales of 6-7 million hybrid and electric vehicles year-on-year from 2020 onwards. The government has been keen to provide fiscal and monetary incentives to kick start this nascent technology and boost sales of electric and hybrid vehicles.