Amidst the multi-pronged ovid 19 challenges, apex industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) marked its 60th Annual Convention with a series of virtual plenary sessions deliberating upon the revival and future of the automotive industry.
The guest of honour for the plenary session on ‘A Long Term Regulatory Roadmap and Infrastructure Development’ was Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India.
Welcoming the industry recommendations, Gadkari said, “Industry has come to global standards on many regulatory fronts. As a regulatory minister, I cannot be more satisfied. We uphold the need for long-term regulatory roadmap and infrastructure development for the benefit of the automobile industry. It is time the country also focuses on alternative bio-fuel technologies such as that of ethanol, methanol, LNG, and so on. Also, I recommend the SIAM and the industry to create an independent think-tank of retired industry, legal, policy, and government experts to resolve industry challenges.”
“Government has changed the definition of MSME, has invested heavily in road infrastructure including 22 green express highways, is focusing on road safety guidelines, and is bringing alternative cleaner fuels to India,” he added.
Vikram Kirloskar, past president, SIAM and vice-chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said “Over the past year, the industry has made tremendous investments in upgrading to BS VI and various technological pathways and we have lost much of our cash reserve. The impact of the recent pandemic on the industry is unprecedented. We need to pause and revisit our options with regard to impending regulations. It is essential a long-term stable policy roadmap is created for the sector with phased timelines and minimal revisions. Policy interventions and regulations should focus on larger national imperatives and be technology neutral. Given the multitude of technologies and alternative fuel options, a clear National Fuel Roadmap would help the industry in making informed decisions. It is also important that the development of technologies should precede the implementation of regulation.”
While thanking the guests and dignitaries, Vinod Aggarwal, Treasurer, SIAM and managing director and chief executive officer, VE Commercial Vehicles, said, “We depend heavily on infrastructure development and economic growth especially for the growth of CV sector. We welcome the change in definition of MSMEs which has increased viability of suppliers in the business. It is our request to the government to consider including wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles in the MSMED Act, which will benefit our dealers and make vehicle retail business viable.”
The industry achieved the landmark feat of transitioning to the BS VI emission norms from 1st April 2020, across all vehicle segments, bringing India at par with rest of the world, while meeting one of the most stringent environmental regulations for vehicles.
Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India, who moderated the Q&A session at the SIAM Convention, said: "BS VI implementation has come in a record time but it has come at a cost. Going forward, industry needs a roadmap with a realistic timeline, taking into account the interest of all stakeholders including customers."