A round table meeting was held by Shri Praful Patel, Minister, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises with Chief Executive Officers of leading Automobile and Auto component Companies here today. The Minister of State (HI&PE), Shri A Sai Prathap, Shri S. Sundareshan, Secretary (Heavy Industry), senior officers of the Department and CEOs of leading auto companies were present at the meeting.
Minister, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, stressed on the need for taking active steps towards developing sustainable mobility. To this end, he emphasised on the importance of automotive research and development, need for adoption of latest vehicle technologies, especially those relating to advance and efficient internal combustion engines, hybrid and electric fuel technologies, including electric mobility.Shri Patel said that the automotive industry today contributes 22% to the manufacturing GDP and 21% of the total excise collection in the country. In 2010-11, the total turnover and export of the Automotive Industry in India reached a new pinnacle of US $ 73 billion and US $ 11 billion respectively, with the cumulative announced investments reaching US $ 30 billion. He also said that the projected size of the Indian Passenger Vehicle Segment is close to 9 million units and that of 2 wheeler close to 30 million units – by 2020.
The government has a key role to play in creating an enabling and conducive environment for the industry, catalyzing research and development activities, for supporting the adoption of new technologies and initiatives. He stressed that in the long term perspective, the government will follow a two pronged strategy for spurring automotive R&D. The first is aimed at bridging the existing wide infrastructure gap in the domain of automotive testing and homologation through the Department’s flagship National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project(NATRiP), which is being implemented at a cost Rs. 2288 cr and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The second part of the strategy is aimed at leveraging the investments being made in NATRiP facilities for collaborative R&D with the industry, especially for the small and medium enterprises in the auto component space. To achieve this, the Ministry is in the process of setting up an enabling mechanism in the shape of the National Automotive Board (NAB) which will be a permanent, professional, expert body for the automotive sector. This body will also provide technical expertise, advice and support to the various Ministries & Departments, under the Government, dealing with the various issues of relevance to the auto sector.
In addition, with the recent announcement of the launch of the National Mission for Electric Mobility and the setting up of the National Council and Board for Electric Mobility, the Minister emphasised on the commitment of the government for early adoption of electric vehicles, including hybrid vehicles, and the manufacturing of these vehicles and their components in the country. The Minister also affirmed his commitments for the sustained growth of this sector.
The CEOs of auto and auto component companies expressed their confidence that the industry was poised to grow fast in the long term, in line to achieve the targets under the Automotive Mission Plan (2006-16). They also gave various suggestions aimed at further improving the sector including fresh ideas on how to spur investment, capacity addition, skills development, R&D etc.
This meeting with the auto sector CEO’s is the first amongst a series of such meetings planned with the leaders of the various Industry sectors dealt by the Department of Heavy Industry. The main objective of these meetings is to facilitate exchange of thoughts, concerns and ideas which will help to create a better understanding of the multitude of critical issues of concern to the industry and initiate speedy action thereon.