There is some proposal in NITI Aayog. But I am the minister. NITI Aayog has no authority, he said.
NEW DELHI: Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said there will be no deadline for adoption of electric mobility and there will be no ban on the petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles. He also said that the automobile industry should not be worried about NITI Aayog’s recommendations to set cut off date for such vehicles.
Speaking at the Mindmine summit here, Gadkari said, “There is some proposal in NITI Aayog. But I am the minister. NITI Aayog has no authority. I am always telling you that we are not going to ban (petrol, diesel vehicles), there is no time limit. You don’t worry about the Niti Aayog recommendation…We will allow all vehicles to exist and let the fittest survive in the competition. Market forces will decide how things shape up.”
Interestingly, even Niti Aayog member, V K Saraswat, who was sharing the dais with Gadkari said, “Niti Aayog has also set some goals… I am very happy that the honourable minister has said that… Ministry of road transport will decide and not Niti Aayog, and I fully agree with that.”
A panel under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog CEO had recommended a ban on the sale of petrol/ diesel three-wheelers from 2023 and two-wheelers of engine capacity up to 150 CC from 2025. In June, the think-tank had also asked the automobile industry to submit a plan to meet this timeline.
Saraswat’s views indicated how even top officials in Niti Aayog are not on the same page. He even went to the extent of flagging how nearly Rs 30,000 crore spent by the oil refineries to make BS-VI, which is cleaner fuel, will go waste if the government takes an accelerated approach towards electric vehicles (EVs). “What will happen to all this? Will this create NPAs (non-performing assets)?” he asked.
He also said it would be incorrect to say that battery-driven vehicle with zero tailpipe emission is completely clean considering that a large share of power generated is from the thermal plants. Moreover, Saraswat said if India ended up importing 90% of the batteries required to run electric vehicles then no benefit will accrue.
However, both Gadkari and Saraswat batted for alternative fuels including indigenously available methanol, ethanol and hydrogen fuel.
“We need to give priority to alternative fuel that is economically sustainable and viable. We must reduce our dependence on import of crude oil,” Gadkari said.