Even as the government is keen to increase the footprint of electric vehicles across the country, out of Rs 5,171.97 crore allocation made for the Centre’s pet Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme for its second phase, only Rs 180 crore has been earmarked for chargers in the union budget for 2023-24.

Around Rs 3,000 crore out of the total allocation of Rs 5,171.97 crore for the FAME-II scheme in the union budget for 2023-24, has been earmarked for electric buses.

However, the paltry amount of Rs 180 crore for chargers looks all the more glaring as one of the main objectives of the second phase of the scheme was to establish the necessary charging infrastructure required for electric vehicles.

The overall budgetary allocation for the heavy industries ministry, the nodal ministry for FAME scheme, was Rs 6,171.63 crore, out of which Rs 5,171.97 crore, or 80 per cent of the total budget, has been earmarked for the FAME-II scheme for 2023-24.

However, the Heavy Industry Ministry has not been able to install most of the chargers under it and therefore, the Petroleum Ministry has been roped to roll out charging stations in retail outlets of public sector undertakings, official sources said.

The reason behind this is that PSUs under the Petroleum Ministry are in a better position to adopt electric vehicles, as it is already providing energy solutions nation-wide.

This, sources said, would lead to faster realisation of the scheme.

FAME-II scheme was notified for five years and has a deadline of March 31, 2024 to complete its targets of supporting 15.62 lakh electric vehicles.

The total size of the Indian automotive industry is around Rs 10 lakh crore.

As of now, only 15.62 lakh electric vehicles are being supported by the government, which sources informed, may not be enough to realise the primary reason behind the FAME scheme, which was to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality as well as saving foreign exchange on fossil fuel imports, till March 2024.

Therefore, the ministry may consider extending the scheme beyond its March 2024 deadline, sources said.

The government had approved the FAME scheme in March 2015 for a period of two years. However, it further got extended till March 2019.

The second phase of the scheme commenced from April 1, 2019 for a period of five years and will continue till March 31, 2024.

When the scheme had begun in 2015, it had four focus areas, i.e. technology development, demand creation, pilot project and charging infrastructure.

Sources said that it was successful in terms of creating a major policy discourse on electric mobility among all stakeholders including different government departments in both at the Centre as well as the states, and therefore, its second phase was given a green light.

The main objective of the second phase of FAME was to encourage faster adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles by way of offering upfront incentives on the purchase of electric vehicles and also by establishing the necessary charging infrastructure required for electric vehicles.

Source – IANS