Niti Ayog, India's central think-tank, has given scooter and bike manufacturers 2 weeks to come up with a plan to switch to electric vehicles, sources have told Reuters. This ultimatum comes days after Niti Ayog has publicly opposed the Government's proposals saying that the same is going to cause disruption to the sector. Niti Aayog officials met with executives from companies including Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and TVS late on Friday, giving them two weeks to come up with the plan, according to one of the executives.
Headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Niti Ayog plays an important role in policymaking. Sources have told Reuters that the think-tank had recommended that from 2025, only electric models of scooters and motorcycles, under 150cc must be sold in India. Opposing this proposal, automobile manufacturers had warned that a sudden transition like this, at a time when auto sales are witnessing a two-decade low, is going to cause disruption and will also result in job losses. India is one of the world’s largest two-wheeler markets with sales of more than 20 million scooters and motorbikes last year.
During Friday’s meeting government officials argued that switching to EVs is of national importance so India does not miss out on the global drive towards environmentally cleaner vehicles, one of the sources said. But industry executives responded that a premature switch with no established supply chain, charging infrastructure or skilled labour in India, could result in India losing its leadership position in scooters and motorbikes, the second source said. “There were clearly drawn out positions,” said the source, adding there were “strong opinions” at the meeting. Bajaj, Hero and Niti Aayog did not respond to a request for comment, while TVS declined to comment.