Govt may release draft auto policy in two months: Geete

The government will release in the next two months the draft of a new auto policy aimed to address issues faced by the industry in the wake of emergence of new technology such as EVs and demand for eco-friendly mobility, Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete said today.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 14th Auto Expo, the minister said suggestions from all stakeholders will be taken in order to come up with an industry and consumer-friendly policy.

Geete also said though the first phase of FAME scheme is coming to an end in March, efforts are on for its continuation in second phase and how to make it even more successful.

Responding to demand from industry to rectify taxation issues on different categories of vehicles, Geete said his ministry has been getting several representations from the industry and the new auto policy will look to address those concerns.

The new auto policy will be a fool-proof, industry and consumer friendly one, he said.

"While framing the policy we will take suggestions from industry bodies like SIAM and ACMA," Geete said, adding changes in taxation as demanded by the industry would be covered.

The auto industry has been demanding lower GST rate on electric vehicles at 5 per cent, down from current 12 per cent.

Besides, there has been call for only two GST slabs for passenger vehicles instead of multiple rates in the current structure.

When asked how soon the new policy could come, Geete said in another two months the draft could be ready.

While admitting that there seems to have been a rush in going for BS-VI emission norms by leapfrogging BS-V, Geete however said the industry must be ready to accept the challenge of change and adopt new technologies and the government will support them in the endeavour.

There should not be fear in the mind of the industry and whatever changes that come will happen in a gradual manner, he added.

The minister also said with new technologies, the cost to customers will increase and companies must ensure that the end buyers are not heavily burdened.

Addressing the gathering at the inauguration, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Abhay Firodia said despite the GST implementation, many local taxes at state level have prevented transition into a completely uniform taxation regime across the country and Centre must take steps to address such issues and get rid of "Permit Raj".

Firodia said the auto industry was not merely seeking duty reduction but was looking up to the government for overall support.

He said the auto industry has to deal with several ministries regarding various issues and said the proposed single nodal body, National Automotive Board must be set up at the earliest.

Commenting on the challenges with transition to BS-VI from BS-IV, Firodia said the government should allow companies to sell their BS-IV products even after April 2020 deadline unlike what happened during the change from BS-III, when sales were abruptly stopped.

Source- ET Auto