The government has decided to keep electric vehicles and automobiles running on alternative fuels out of the ambit of permit requirements in order to boost public interest in them. Vehicles using electricity or, ethanol, biodiesel, CNG, methanol and biofuel need not apply for permits, said Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Demand for eco-friendly vehicles can be created by mandating cab aggregators like Ola and Uber to induct a certain percentage of such vehicles in their fleet.
"We have decided to exempt EVs and all vehicles including autorickshaws, buses, taxis run on alternative fuel like ethanol, biodiesel, CNG, methanol and biofuel, from permit requirements. We have taken the decision to make these permit-free," Gadkari said while addressing the SIAM annual convention.
The transport minister further added that the states have agreed to abide by decision as recommendations to this effect came from a Group of Ministers of states, headed by Rajasthan Transport Minister Yunus Khan. He urged auto manufacturers to take up the production of electric vehicles and those using alternative fuel, but ruled out any financial incentive, on grounds of favourable GST rates.
"With GST at 12 per cent on EVs, I don't think there is any further need for subsidy... we need to think innovatively to bring in that environment. My ministry has prepared a detailed report to raise production of EVs through non-fiscal initiatives in the next five years," Gadkari said clarifying that the subsidy was not mandatory.
The decision to keep EVs and other vehicles using alternative fuels comes amid government's efforts to promote eco-friendly vehicles through Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) India scheme, which was launched in 2015. The second phase of FAME India scheme will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 7. According to official sources, FAME II offers incentives for mass adoption of EVs with an outlay of Rs 5,500 crore.
Gadkari also said the ministry has done away with the requirement of local testing for initially bringing EVs into India for sale. "This will be available for limited number of pieces in the domestic market and if the customers' response is positive then these companies can start making the vehicles in India," he said.
The minister also encouraged automakers to diversify into water transport. "Why don't you diversify? From Allahabad to Varanasi, we are maintaining a draft of 1.5 metre. Fifteen crore people will be gathering at Kumbha mela. You come and run 500-600 seater catamarans. I will give you all permissions in eight days," the minister said.
He said the multimodal hub at Varanasi will be inaugurated soon and 60 river ports offered vast opportunities to automobile makers.