A Rs 10,000 crore scheme to subsidise the sale of electric and hybrid vehicles as part of efforts to curb pollution is welcome, but the government is missing out on low-hanging fruits like Auto LPG, that can have an immediate impact on urban air quality, Indian Auto LPG Coalition (IAC) said.
The association urged that the government should provide a level playing field to other cleaner gaseous fuels like Auto LPG as well. Rather than subsidies, the government should provide simple policy-level interventions like lowering GST for Auto LPG, it said.
"We are certainly missing the larger picture here. Larger picture does not necessarily mean only looking 25 years hence. In today's context, it should have meant allowing each clean fuel to play a role, particularly in the context of its feasibility and the necessity of providing our country with solutions that can be implemented effectively today. With Indian cities continuing to be amongst the world's most polluted, there is a dire need to provide solutions for today," IAC director general Suyash Gupta said.
In a statement, IAC said the government has decided to put its thrust only on electric vehicles (EVs), ignoring other more readily available alternatives. "Almost 65 per cent of Indian power is still sourced from fossil fuels while EVs as a realistic alternative is almost two decades away. Do we not need solutions today? Can we wait for 20 more years for cleaner urban air? The answer, unfortunately, is a no," he said.
Under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME)-II scheme, subsidies would be offered based on the battery capacity of the vehicle, ranging from buses and cars to three-wheelers and motorbikes costing less than Rs 15 lakh. Auto LPG association contends that it does not need any subsidy allocation from the government -- just a level playing field through policy interventions such as lowering GST on Auto-LPG from 18 per cent to 5 per cent, reducing GST on conversion kits from 28 per cent to 5 per cent and a quick reform of the anomalous type approval norms governing the retro fitment industry, the statement said.
"Auto LPG can gain immediate and significant traction if the government looks beyond EVs as well and reward clean transport holistically. Among others, there are a few key areas which could have an immediate impact on the rollout of this clean fuel: being a reduction of GST on this fuel, its kits, LPG vehicles and a tweak in the Type Approval Norms for LPG and CNG kits," Gupta said.