January 18

Final government nod for FAME scheme likely by March 31- Official

New Delhi: The union ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises hopes to get a final government approval for the Rs 5,500 crore second lap of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles(FAME) scheme before March 31 this year, a senior official said. AR Sihag, secretary, MHI&PE, told ET that in the new policy applicable for five years, the government seeks to prioritise support for public transportation, shared mobility, and smaller electric vehicles like two-wheelers.

The scheme also envisages installing 300 electric vehicle charging stations along highways by the end of 2019. The Delhi-Jaipur-Agra highway triangle and the Mumbai-Pune highway have been identified as initial recipients.

“(In FAME-2) we have done away with lead-acid batteries, we have moved to advanced batteries. That’s a major change we have made moving forward,” Sihag said.

He said that the other major change in the policy will be a focus on electrification of buses based on the response the government received on its expression of interest in the first phase of FAME. A total of 47 proposals were received stating a requirement of 3,144 buses across 44 cities.

“We were not able to meet all the aspirations. There is unmet demand. So, we are capitalising on that and we are building upon that element also,” he said.

Regarding taxes levied on various clean-technology vehicles, Shihag said fully electric vehicles enjoy a favourable tax treatment but declined to comment on similar incentives for hybrid technology.

The timing for the approval is critical as the country is gearing up for general elections this year and if the nod from the government does not come through, the adoption of cleaner mobility in the country may take a backseat.

The first phase of the FAME scheme has already been extended four times in two years beyond its planned expiry in March 2017. The scheme was allocated, a budget of Rs 795 crore was approved with additional allocation of Rs 100 crore to account for the extensions.

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