The Reasi district in the northern union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been identified as having 5.9 million tonnes of lithium inferred resources, which are yet to be verified.

Large amount of lithium deposits found in India

According to the Geological Survey of India (GSI), large lithium reserves have been discovered in India. The Reasi district in the northern union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been identified as having 5.9 million tonnes of lithium inferred resources, which are yet to be verified. India had so far relied on importing lithium from Australia and Argentina. Lithium is a crucial component of rechargeable batteries, which power many devices, including electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones. According to experts, India’s plan to expand the number of private electric cars by 30% by 2030 as part of measures to reduce carbon emissions to combat global warming may benefit from the revelation. Previously, significantly smaller lithium resources were discovered in Karnataka in 2021.

Customs duty waived for machinery required to manufacture lithium-ion cells for batteries

While announcing the 2023–24 budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that to  provide a push to green mobility, Customs duty exemption is being extended to the import of capital goods and machinery required for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries used in electric vehicles. The FM also added that in order to steer the economy on the sustainable development path, Battery Energy Storage Systems with a capacity of 4,000-megawatt hours will be supported with Viability Gap Funding. A detailed framework for Pumped Storage Projects will also be formulated.

According to experts, the decision to extend the Custom duty exemptions for the production of Li-On batteries is a very good one because it will allow for the domestic expansion of capacity, which has previously been more import-driven due to low volumes and the increased volume of electric vehicles.

Govt vehicles to be replaced with green options to lower expenditure on oil

According to the road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, about 9,00,000 government vehicles will be replaced with electric or alternative fuel models in order to lower the cost of importing crude oil and minimise pollution, the Economic Times reported. Gadkari said that the government vehicles that will be scrapped under the Centre’s vehicle scrappage policy would be replaced by those using cleaner mobility technology. In the budget speech made earlier this month by the finance minister, it was stated that all state and central government-owned vehicles, including buses owned by transport corporations and public sector undertakings that have been on the road for more than 15 years, would be scrapped. The import of fossil fuels worth more than ₹17 lakh crore and the rise in pollution are India’s two main auto industry issues, Gadkari added. 

Tamil Nadu releases revised EV policy with sops for manufacturers and users

The Tamil Nadu government this week released its new EV policy with a substantial overhaul of benefits and incentives to attract investments in the EV sector and accelerate adoption. The policy will see manufacturers receive a full reimbursement of state goods and services tax (SGST), investment- or turnover-based subsidy as well as subsidies on land costs and for advanced cell chemistry manufacturing. Additionally, power purchases from the state-run discoms have been made tax-free for five years. The public too has been provided with incentives in the form of waivers on road tax, registration charges and permit fees in addition to purchase incentives ranging from Rs 5,000 and Rs 10 lakh.

The state is hoping to attract more investments from the EV industry and has included a sweetener in the form of employment incentives which will see the state reimburse employer’s contributions to EPF capped at Rs 48,000 per employee for all new jobs created in the state.

Chandigarh to stop registering non-electric 2-wheelers from Feb 10

The Chandigarh administration announced that it would stop registering non-electric two-wheelers as of February 10. According to the order, this was done to fulfill the goal of environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility in “City Beautiful”. The Chandigarh administration had in September notified the Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy 2022.  A waiver on road tax on electric and hybrid vehicles has been envisaged in the policy to encourage electric vehicles. At the same time, to limit and discourage non-electric vehicles, provision for capping on their registration has been made in the policy. According to the policy, a reduction of 10% in four-wheelers and 35% in two-wheelers from the previous year has been targeted for the first year by limiting their registration in the city. Beginning on April 1, 2023, non-electric two-wheeler registration will be accepted within the allotted limitations for the fiscal years 2023–2024.

FAME II : Industry expects further extension, govt probes key industry players 

While Budget 2023 just doubled the allocation for the FAME-2 scheme for FY24, the auto industry now wants a further extension of subsidy in an attempt to give the EV industry the required push in the country. The industry members said that the subsidy is needed for at least three more years for sustainable growth. However, the government is currently probing four key players for allegedly mispricing their electric two-wheelers to make them eligible for subsidy under FAME II. These players are Ola, Ather, TVS Motor and Vida. It is estimated that the EV makers may have falsely claimed at least ₹300 crore subsidy. While the retail market share and sales of electric vehicles reported a decline in January 2023, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari denied reports of alleged proposals advising banks to offer cheaper car loans on EVs. Industry players said the dip in sales is due to the halt of FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) subsidies, rising cost of EVs, and supply chain constraints. Gadkari confirmed that the ministry is not considering any such proposal at this time. 

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