To streamline policy- making in the automotive sector, the government is going to set up a ?National Automotive Board? within next three months which will seek to bring important stakeholders on board. The proposed new body would deliberate on most aspects concerning the automotive industry including the viability of introducing a recall policy for cars and incentivising replacement of older cars on the lines of the hugely successful scrappage scheme introduced in the European countries.
FE was the first to report in July that the heavy industry ministry has started work on introducing India?s first scrappage scheme. ?We have started work on recycling of cars. A project has also been set up in Chennai which is looking at the modalities of the scheme,? joint-secretary in the heavy industry ministry Ambuj Sharma said. Once introduced the scheme could have a significant impact on car sales as well as improve overall fuel efficiency techniques. The change would have to be introduced in the two-decade old Motor Vehicle Act.
Sharma said that the proposed National Automotive Board would also coordinate projects that have been commissioned under the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP). He also said that the government was working on a mandatory crash testing for cars as per which any new car would have to by law undergo a test to ascertain whether it had its safety techniques fully in place.
In 2006 the heavy industry ministry had unveiled an automotive mission plan (AMP) for a period of ten years. The broad objectives the AMP had set itself was to achieve increase the overall value of the auto industry from $ 45 billion to $ 145 billion. Apart from that the AMP had sought to double the industry’s share to GDP from 5% to 10% apart from creating 25 million new skilled jobs. ?We are on course to achieve the target we had set for ourselves in 2006,? Sharma said.
Sharma also downplayed the labour crisis Maruti Suzuki has been facing at its Manesar facility over the last three weeks. ?These are very very sporadic incidents. Production has not been hit to that extent. The greater issue is the lack of skilled labour in the sector which we are trying to address,? he said. He added that labour laws like most legislations are not sacrosanct or permanent and could be changed if the need arose. He however declined to comment further saying that the matter is in the domain of the labour ministry.