The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) held its 57th Annual Convention, titled ‘Building the Nation Responsibly’ in New Delhi. The event saw strong attendance from automotive industry leaders and senior representatives from the Government.
Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Anant G Geete said that India’s automobile industry is a primary contributor to the Government’s `Make in India’ initiative. He assured the industry of all help from the Government, which he said will act ‘as the guardian of India’s automobile sector.’ Besides, he also dispelled apprehensions on GST and its impact on automotive industry, and stressed on the need to boost India’s position as a global hub for the global automobile industry.
During further proceedings, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Mr Nitin Gadkari called upon the automobile industry to gear up to face upcoming challenges, and work towards reducing imports, reducing pollution and gradually phasing out the IC engine and moving towards an electric vehicle future. Mr Gadkari said that the Indian automotive industry has done well despite facing various regulatory hurdles and environmental issues. ‘When it comes to sustainable and environment friendly transportation, the Indian auto industry took up the challenge and agreed to go through the pain of leapfrogging towards better environment by accepting BS6 norms from 1st April 2020,’ he said. However, he added that the domestic automotive industry now needs to move towards zero emissions with electric vehicles by encouraging adoption of new technologies.
Dr Abhay Firodia, Chairman, Force Motors Limited, said that the Government is closely monitoring the DNA of the manufacturing industry, especially the auto sector, to ensure that it is on par with global standards. ‘It is good that Indian automobile industry is taking up this challenge despite shocks in the past year. We had disruptions due to demonetisation last year. We have GST now. We had transition to BS IV emission norms in an unplanned manner owing to which we suffered losses,’ said Dr Firodia.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, said that all policies for the auto sector should be technology-agnostic and left to the market forces for self-sustaining growth. He conveyed the government’s stand that the courts should have hands-off approach in matters pertaining to technology adoption, adding that over-dependence on a single technology may scuttle the spirit of innovation.
Vinod K Dasari, President - SIAM, and CEO & MD of Ashok Leyland said India’s automobile industry is today standing on the threshold of major transformations and unprecedented challenges. He urged the government to create a ‘national automotive board’ and called upon the industry for providing greater impetus for carrying out more design work in India, to gain traction with the Government’s `Make in India’ initiative.
At the concluding session titled ‘Transforming Mobility,’ Sumit Sawhney, Country CEO & MD, Renault India Private Limited, said that a part of transformation in automobile sector has come with the introduction of e-taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber services, and added that the future may well belong to self-driving electric cars. ‘As lithium-ion batteries will fuel the cars in the future, the cost of these batteries will come down eventually as more and more players come, with increased volume of usage of these batteries,’ he said.
MOVE TOWARDS ELECTRIFICATION
‘The most important disruption is the electrification. It is something certainly going to happen by 2030 or 2040, I cannot say. But at least 30 % of the vehicles will be electric,’ said Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company Limited, who added that GST implementation and demonetisation will make for a more transparent economy in India. ‘We in the automotive industry must have an approach to move on from Make in India to Made in India. In next ten years, there will be huge growth in passenger vehicle, two wheelers and export volumes will also go up,’ he said, stressing upon the need to build up engineering capabilities and excellence in the country.
Dr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra, while addressing the valedictory session titled ‘Think Global, Act Local or Think Local, Act Global’ said that to remain competitive, the MSME sector has to be tapped and provided with skill development, access to technology and ecosystem. ‘The government has taken policy initiatives as is required. We would face the challenge of competitiveness as we are moving towards global operations,’ he said. He also called for protection, creating an environment for local companies to grow and flourish, and added that the government should formulate policies for the auto sector carefully and in a balanced way, keeping in mind FDI and foreign stakeholders, to ensure future growth.