SC asks Centre's reply on implementing policy on EV

SC asks Centre's reply on implementing policy on EV

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to respond to a plea pointing out “failure” in taking steps for adopting electric vehicles in the country in terms of the National E-Mobility Mission Plan, 2020.

The plan made several recommendations for the adoption of electric vehicles in government fleets and public transportation, subsidies to consumers, tax incentives and policy incentives and requisite charging infrastructure by mandating fast and normal charging points in apartment buildings, parking lots, government offices, malls etc.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the Centre to file its response to a PIL jointly filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation, Common Cause and Bengaluru-based Sita Ram Jindal Foundation.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted only a minuscule 0.263 % electric vehicles have so far been introduced as against the target of seven million vehicles by 2020.

“Niti Ayog is seized up of the matter. Should we interfere at this stage,” the bench asked the counsel.

On this, the counsel said the policy was of 2012 but no sufficient number of charging stations were being set up. “Who will buy electric vehicles,” he asked.

“Let the technology percolate down. Your cause is good but the forum is wrong,” the bench said.

However, the bench finally agreed to examine the issue and sought the Centre's response within four weeks.

The petitioner pointed out the failure of government policy to provide for adoption of electric vehicles in the country in light of the serious impact of fossil fuel based vehicles on global warming, climate change, and air pollution.

To implement the 2020 plan, the government promulgated the FAME-India Scheme 2015 that does provide subsides to consumers but failed to mandate demand and charging infrastructure. These are the two critical bottlenecks in the wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles as per consumer surveys conducted by an IIM Ahmedabad-UNEP study, it said.

The 2012 plan had called for an investment of Rs 14,500 crores from the government to kickstart demand and creation of charging infrastructure, in December, 2018, the government informed parliament but it had thus far allocated less than Rs 600 crores over a period of 7 years towards the entire scheme.