Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway of India, Nitin Gadkari has cleared the air that there will no ban on petrol and diesel vehicles in the country. He further added that the government has not set any deadline for automakers to switch to electric vehicles. "I am the minister, NITI Aayog does not have the authority to set EV deadline," said Gadkari at the Mindmine summit. Gadkari's viewpoint seems to differ from Niti Aayog's ambitious plan for a transition to electric mobility.
The government think tank, Niti Aayog on June 21 had asked the automobile industry to submit a plan banning internal combustion engines (ICE)-fitted two-wheelers under 150 cc by 2025, and three-wheelers by 2023.
Interestingly, one of the NITI Ayog members, VK Saraswat backed Gadkari during the summit, saying, "I am happy that Gadkari said his ministry will take the decision on vehicle technologies and not the Niti Aayog".
However, admitting that the automobile sector and economy are facing some serious problems, Gadkari stressed on the significance of electric vehicles, he said that the industry cannot ignore the need for cleaner vehicles, particularly EVs. Gadkari added that PM Modi was aware of the issues and some measures would be announced very soon.
As per Niti Aayog's policy on EVs, laid out in 2017, India aims to phase out fossil-fuel-based auto-rickshaws by 2023, and scooters and motorcycles (150cc) by 2025. By 2030, India aims to complete at least 40 per cent electrification in private transport. To promote electric and hybrid vehicles, the government had also launched Rs 10,000 crore FAME II incentive scheme, which has been made operational for the next three years since April.
India is one of the world's largest two-wheeler markets with sales of more than 20 million scooters and motorbikes last year.