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The National Institution for Transforming India, or NITI Aayog as it is better known, has been nothing short of a catalyst for change in the Indian mobility space. At the helm of this organisation is CEO Amitabh Kant, under whose watch NITI Aayog has become instrumental in helping the government of India frame policies such as FAME II, which is expected to significantly propel India’s electrification plans.

In a conversation with Auto Futures, Kant speaks about how the mobility space in India will go on to see rapid transformation.

“Indian mobility space is changing rapidly. We have already seen the proliferation of shared mobility service providers in the country. This along with electrification of vehicles will play a key role in the transformation of mobility in India,” says Kant.

Connected, Autonomous, Sharing and Electric (CASE) seems to be the new buzz phrase on the lips of every industry leader in the Indian automotive industry. They feel that these are the areas that will disrupt the automotive industry in the country, if they aren’t already.

When asked which areas he sees future mobility evolving most rapidly, Kant says: “India, being the fourth largest auto market in the world, has space for different innovations in the country. India will, undoubtedly, be the pioneer of cutting-edge frontier technologies including AI and blockchain. Along with this, different innovative business models will make mobility accessible, inclusive and safe. It will ensure that the mobility of the future will be shared, connected and zero-emission.”

Shreyas Kamble Ofy0plds0es Unsplash

Edging out the Internal Combustion Engine

“14 out of the 20 most polluted cities of the world are in India, according to a WHO report. Transport sector contributes 40% of the PM 2.5 pollution thus making it imminent that we shift away from internal combustion engines to zero emission vehicles,” he adds.

NITI Aayog played a key role in shaping India’s electrification plans with the introduction of FAME II.

Giving a glimpse into the journey, Kant told us: “NITI Aayog has made concerted efforts in the last 3-4 years for the uptake of electric mobility in the country.  We had setup 6 inter-ministerial committees in January 2018 to look at various issues related to demand and supply incentives, charging infrastructure, last mile connectivity, etc. This led to a plethora of steps taken by various ministries like removal of permit for commercial electric 3 W, removal of registration fee for EVs, reduction of customs duty for EVs, etc.”

For the government of India, meeting its sustainability goals is an important agenda, within which electrification plays an important part. To achieve this, policy plays a huge role in aiding the industry.

Speaking of some short term and long term steps that the government of India should take to achieve its electrification goals, Kant says: “It is necessary to indigenous manufacturing of EV and its components in alignment with ‘Make In India’. In this regard, we have taken steps to setup Giga factory in India which will indigenise production of Lithium Ion battery cells and packs.”

According to Kant, there are also other areas for which India needs concrete policies. He says: “There is an immense need to clean up our cities, in the wake of Air pollution in our cities. It is necessary that we apply the ‘polluter pays’ principle to push zero-emission mobility in the country.”

Cities As Engines Of Growth
Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, India at the India Economic Summit 2016 in New Delhi, India, Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

Driving Electrification Forward in India

Kant firmly believes that the transformation of mobility in India will only happen with a collaborative effort from industry. “Startups, entrepreneurs and experts should be looking to maximise domestic manufacturing of vehicles and their components. The whole value chain of components need to domestically manufactured to provide impetus to jobs and economic growth in the country.”

“They should also look at providing rural mobility and last mile connectivity to the masses  of this country. It will greatly improve economic productivity and growth in those areas.”

Throwing light on some key mobility-related areas that NITI Aayog is currently looking at, Kant says: “NITI Aayog is looking at transformative mobility which covers shared, connected and zero-emission mobility. We are committed to reduce pollution in our cities, reduce Co2 footprint of transport, and reduce congestion on the roads. This, along with providing accessible, safe and inclusive transport options is the vision we are working towards.”

He concludes: “We are working towards the maximum electrification of our vehicles driven by 2W, 3W and buses. This, along with ‘Make in India’ of EV and its components (complete value chain) will place India as the driver of EV revolution.” 

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