Raj Kumar Singh, Union Minister of Power (MoP) and New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) held a meeting with battery makers, today, March 23, to discuss the creation of an ecosystem for incentivizing battery manufacturing in India.
In the meeting, Singh urged the industry to set up battery manufacturing units in India as the future demand was going to be very high, with the government promoting electric vehicles (EV) in a big way. “Tenders for procuring EVs have already been issued, and we have started procuring the vehicles. This is going to increase”, he said.
Asserting that the future bids will be for solar/wind hybrid coupled with storage, the Minister said that the Indian government would soon come out with a policy in this regard, and the focus will be on ‘Make in India’ in this field.
On the issue of adequate supply of raw materials for manufacturing of batteries, the Minister said that the government has already initiated interaction with resource-rich countries such as Bolivia.
India should be proactive in this sector, and should found the manufacturing base to support the projected growth of energy storage and electric mobility sector.
Last year, in an interview with pv magazine, Rahul Walawalkar, Executive Director of India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), and President & M.D. of Customized Energy Solutions (India), said that India should not repeat the same mistake that it did in the solar sector, which means giving away the market to foreign hands.
Battery industry asks for support
The industry representatives raised the issue of high goods and service tax (GST) rates on batteries. To promote the Make in India initiative, they demanded that preference should be given to Indian manufacturers in the government procurement. They also stressed upon the need for creating Indian standards for batteries and setting up of field testing facilities for both stationary and mobile sectors.
Realizing the need, the Minister asked the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to share relevant technologies with the Industry. Interestingly, BHEL has signed today the technology transfer with ISRO for Lithium-ion cells.
Stressing the need to start manufacturing cells in India, the Industry representatives requested a favorable fiscal regime. They also expressed the need to create an enabling environment for recycling of batteries in India.
In reply to the stakeholders request, Singh assured the battery manufacturers that the Indian government would take all possible measures to incentivize the battery manufacturing in India.
Several dignitaries were present at the meeting, which saw participation from primary battery and electric vehicles manufacturers, ISRO, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), Niti Aayog, and MNRE.