Will Need Government Incentives To Fulfil India’s EV Dream: Maruti Suzuki


India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzukisaid today that government incentives will be needed to make electric vehicles (EVs) affordable as the country moves towards the eco-friendly solution for mobility. The company, which plans to launch its first EV in India by 2020, also said it will conduct a study to find consumer insights to prepare for the journey. Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman RC Bhargava said affordability is a major challenge that EVs will face and for them to be successful, focus has to be on manufacturing of batteries and other components within the country to bring down cost.

Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki Cars

  • Baleno

  • Vitara Brezza

  • Swift

  • Alto 800

  • Dzire

  • Celerio

  • Wagon R

  • Ignis

  • Ertiga

  • Celerio X

  • Omni

  • S-Cross

  • Eeco

  • Ciaz

  • Alto K10

  • Gypsy

“I think it will be required… My gut feeling is that yes, some kind of intervention would be required but I don’t know to what extent,” he told reporters when asked if government incentives would be needed to support electric vehicles transition in India.

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Studying Market For Electric Vehicles

As electric vehicles are a new development for the Indian auto industry it would be difficult to say in details how much government support would be needed, he added. The company will conduct a study to understand more about consumer insights on electric vehicles, which will also help in estimating how much of government support will be needed, he said.

“Before that I can’t really say with any kind of confidence that this the kind of government intervention is required,” Bhargava said.

The aim of the study would be to find out as to what is the ground reality, where people park their cars and charging infrastructure and what is their thinking about EVs, he said. “It will gauge what average consumer thinks about EVs. This survey is going to provide us the first reliable data from the ground. We will start it within two to three weeks and by about end of February we would have some authentic basis to answer queries on EVs,” Bhargava said.

Stressing on the need for cost of electric cars to be within the reach of consumers, he said, “75 per cent of cars are small cars. How to make small cars electrified and affordable?

“I think this is one of the challenges which we will have to face because making an affordable large car is different from making an affordable small car. We need to keep that in mind. So what kind of government support, policy is required needs to be worked out.”

The government has set eyes on 100 per cent EVs for public mobility and 40 per cent electric for personal mobility by 2030. In a white paper submitted to the government, auto industry body SIAM had proposed 40 per cent of all new vehicles sold in the country to be electric by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2047.

When asked about MSI’s EV launch plans, he Bhargava said the first one will hit the market by 2020 and the company will also set up charging stations. On the future of conventional internal combustion (IC) engine vehicles, he said it will continue to grow.

The company has done an assessment, assuming an annual growth rate of 8 per cent between now and 2030, that 71 million cars will be sold, of which 14.4 million will be electric and 56.6 million will be IC vehicles, he said. “So, conventional cars will continue to be four times that of electrics,” he added.


Govt may form panel to select start-ups eligible for incentives

In August, while delivering the Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi floated the slogan “Start-up India, Stand up India” to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people. Photo: Bloomberg

In August, while delivering the Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi floated the slogan “Start-up India, Stand up India” to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: The government is likely to set up an inter-ministerial board on the lines of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board to vet proposals to select start-ups who will be eligible for incentives under the Start-up India Action Plan to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

“The board will be at the joint secretary level and will meet from time to time to vet the proposals,” a government official involved in the process of finalizing the Start-up India action plan said, speaking under condition of anonymity. The official said various approvals like those on company registration will be fast-tracked for start-ups. “They will be exempted from all inspections including labour inspections,” a government official said speaking under condition of anonymity.

“We are making legal charges of filing intellectual property rights (IPR) free. Start-ups have to only give statutory charges. We will have a panel of advocates to help them. We will bear their charges,” the official added.

Investment firm SoftBank’s founder Masayoshi Son, taxi-hailing service Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick and collaborative workspace provider WeWork’s founder Adam Neumann will attend the government’s Start-up India event.

The event will be attended by around 40 innovators, venture capitalists and angel investors from Silicon Valley along with 1,500 founders of start-ups from across the country. In August, while delivering the Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi floated the slogan “Start-up India, Stand up India” to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people.

Speaking at a start-up event at San Jose, California, on 27 September, Modi said he sees start-ups, technology and innovation as exciting and effective instruments for India’s transformation, and for creating jobs for its youth. “When each of the 500-odd towns produces 10 start-ups and each of our 600,000 villages produce six small businesses, on a regular basis, we will create an enormous economic momentum and generate huge number of jobs in our country,” Modi had said. Adding that some of the outstanding start-ups from India are applying technology to transform areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture, clean energy, security, financial inclusion, and water management, Modi said he wants to see the idea and spirit of start-ups light up the economies and the fortunes of people in rural India.

“From handicrafts to tourism, the frontiers of possibilities and the scale of reach in India is immense,” he said.

Considering the importance of the event to the promotion of start-up culture in the country, it will be telecast live in all Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, National Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Information Technology, central universities and to youth groups in over 350 districts of the country.

Google Inc. will conduct a session titled “Launchpad Accelerator” where early-stage start-ups can make live pitches to potential investors to win $50,000 in non-equity investment. SoftBank president and chief operating officer Nikesh Arora will interact with participants on various aspects of start-up funding. Indian start-ups will also showcase some of their unique innovations through a virtual exhibition. The day-long event will involve workshops and panel discussions on topics including “Unleashing entrepreneurship and innovation: What do Indian start-ups need to grow and prosper”; “Celebrating women: Stories of innovative women entrepreneurs”; “How digitization will change India’s future”; “Making Indian healthcare leapfrog”; “Financial inclusion is within reach” and “Show me the money: How do we capitalize entrepreneurship?”

Secretaries of key government departments will also answer questions on how the government will create an enabling ecosystem for start-ups.

Ajay Kela, president and chief executive officer at Wadhwani Foundation, said the formal unveiling of the action plan will set the ball rolling for a start-up boom in India. “With an already strong momentum on entrepreneurship among our best and brightest, the government support and favourable policies will go a long way in fueling a vibrant financial ecosystem and a well-trained and accessible mentor network including accelerators and incubators that can maximize success of new enterprises through readily available knowledge and guidance,” he added.


Expecting Income Tax Incentives On Bank Deposits: Mukesh Butani

Mr Butani expects the finance minister to announce some changes in the indirect tax regime to usher in GSTFinance Minister Arun Jaitley will focus on three to four broad themes in this year’s budget, says Mukesh Butani, managing partner at BMR Legal. Tax benefit to deal with inflation, rejigging of threshold and slab rates and tax relief on interest earned from bank deposits could be announced in budget, he added.

“There could be some form of incentive for garnering greater degree of deposits in the banking sector. He (Jaitley) could raise the limit on interest deduction on interest from bank is concerned,” Mr Butani told NDTV Profit. (Watch)

According to the current tax laws, if the total interest on bank deposits in a financial year crosses the threshold limit of Rs 10,000, tax deducted at source (TDS) is applied on the interest earned.

In the previous year’s budget, Mr Jaitley had announced the government’s intention to reduce corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over the next four years. Mr Butani expects the finance minister to outline a roadmap for lowering of corporate tax rate.

“The primary agenda would be how the corporate tax rate would be lowered over the next 4 years, including the phase-out programs for various exemptions.”

Indirect tax

Mr Butani expects the finance minister to announce some changes in the indirect tax regime to usher in GST (goods and services tax).

“In the light of Parliament logjam on GST, people would be wondering what is the finance minister is going to do as far as GST is concerned. Taking away of the central sales tax (CST) will be important signal for the GST,” he said. “The government is well within its realm to carry out the requisite amendments for indirect tax central sales tax levies for seamless credits. That will ease pressure and signal that the central part of GST is concerned, at least seamless credits are available.”

CST is levied on goods in inter-state trade. Under the proposed GST regime, major central and state taxes will get subsumed into GST to bring in a uniform tax regime across the country. In anticipation of implementation of GST, the central sales tax goods was brought down from 4 per cent to 2 per cent in two phases in 2007-2009 but this tax has not yet been fully phased out yet.

Mr Butani also expects the government to address the inverted duty structure issue in some sectors. Under the inverted duty structure, the import duty on the raw material is more than the import duty on the same finished product, a taxation structure the hurts the competitiveness of domestic manufacturing industry.

“You could also very well see, the continuing efforts of successive governments, including this government, to address the inverted duty structure in certain industries in which it is still around,” he said.

Mr Bhutani also expects the finance minister to announce administrative tax reforms to increase the ease of doing business in India and also defer the general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) for another year. (Read: 5 facts about GAAR)