India government plans 15% subsidy on e-rickshaws

The Delhi government’s environment and transport departments will be moving a cabinet note soon to offer a 15% subsidy on the price of e-rickshaws and other battery-operated vehicles.

The subsidy was announced by transport minister Gopal Rai last month at a Janta cabinet. The subsidy would be given at the time of registration, he had said. “The note specifies a 15% subsidy for buying new e-rickshaws. If approved by the cabinet, the scheme will be launched immediately,” an official said.

The government had given time till June for registration to those drivers who have already bought e-rickshaws. However, these vehicles could get registered only after a nod from a government-approved agency for type testing.
The issue was that none of the e-rickshaws bought earlier have type approval, forcing the drivers to look for certification from an e-rickshaw association. At present, there is only one e-rickshaw association, Battery Rickshaw Sangh. Registration of older e-rickshaws, however, failed to take off due to most RTOs refusing to accept these certifications.

Experts believe the strategy will be effective only if the government deploys it in a way that it acts as a feeder service. “The government shouldn’t limit the project to providing a subsidy…deploying the fleet for proper access to Metro and bus stops is most important,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment clean air programme.

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