On 31 August 2021, I convened a roundtable conference on “Impact of Electric Vehicles on Clean Air” for the Parliamentarians’ Group on Clean Air. Shri Bhagwanth Khuba, Honourable Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, delivered the keynote address in the conference organized with the support of Swaniti Initiative. Ms Akshima Ghate, Principal, RMI, presented an overview of India’s electric mobility scene. She was followed by Ms Harkiran Sanjeevi, former Deputy-General of NITI Aayog, who spoke on the potentials of electric mobility. Fifteen Parliamentarians from both Houses and across party lines attended the virtual conference.
I began my introductory remarks by stressing on the need for recognizing air pollution as a health issue. The lasting impact of air pollution on human lungs and its potential to cut life expectancy makes it a chief health hazard of the present times. Some of the concerns raised in the conference by the honourable Members of Parliament included underutilization of funds and resources allocated under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicle (FAME) II, low participation levels of Urban Local Bodies and lack of public awareness on air pollution. The conference was able to effectively address the merits and demerits of India’s existing electric mobility schemes. Flaws in implementation were pointed out and key issues were brought to the Minister’s notice.
Several suggestions evolved out of the discussions in the conference. Some of them are expedition of the National Hydrogen Mission, building capacity of state governments and Urban Local Bodies, and targeting high-scope areas like public transport for EV deployment. Diligent e-waste management and improved and wide-spread charging infrastructure were also stressed on.
The conference concluded with the hope that the discussions and suggestions would be noted by the Honourable Minister and that the Government would move towards their implementation.
Formed in 2019, the Parliamentarians’ Group on Clean Air aims to initiate parliamentary and constituency-based efforts to attain a future of clean air. It has been committed towards convening, informing and engaging with Members of Parliament on issues of air pollution.