The Government’s decision to impose a blanket ban on two-wheelers and three-wheelers with petrol or diesel engines stirred up a storm in the automobile industry. However, following a recent interview with the Indian Express, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has clarified that the Centre was yet to set a deadline for such a move.
“Where is the deadline? There is no deadline. There can be a lot of discussions, dialogue. But it’s not government’s policy. Niti Aayog can generate a lot of discussions which is good for the narrative. That’s where it is," said Sitharaman in an interview with Indian Express on Monday.
Automakers operating in the two-wheeler and three-wheeler space have been up in arms about the decision that is a potential threat to their investments in the near future. While the industry gears up for BS-VI norms that will come into effect from April 2020, a near-deadline to shift to electric vehicles will call for heavy financial damage.
The automobile sector in India has witnessed a steady decline in the past few months as financial institutions such as banks and non-banking financial companies have tightened credit norms after the bankruptcy of IL&FS along with a liquidity crunch in the finance sector.
“My answer, particularly on the vehicles issue, buyers are not picking up vehicles…is one, as much as I hear that, I also hear reasons for it. Some who speak to me do say that the reason for buyers not rushing to get vehicles now is also this transition from Bharat Stage IV to Stage VI, directly leapfrogging Stage V. Now buyers are probably in anticipation that industry themselves would give something even as the deadline of January 2020 kicks in. So the decision is getting delayed or deferred," said Sitharaman in the interview.