India needs to cut import bill, switch to electric: Amitabh Kant

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New Delhi : With 14 of the 20 most polluted global cities present in India, there is an urgent need to cut its import bill and switch the transport system from internal combustion to electric, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Thursday.

He said considering that 76 per cent of all vehicles in India are two-wheelers which account for 30 per cent of air pollution, the priority of the government is to ensure the switch to electric starts with them.

"India is different from the US and Europe because here, around 76 per cent of the vehicles are two-wheelers which consume 60 per cent of fuel and emit 30 per cent of total pollution. Among the rest, three per cent are three-wheelers and seven to eight per cent constitutes the public transport vehicles.

"India needs to convert these two-and-three-wheelers into electric vehicles, ensure cleaner fuel for public transport and push sharing-based transport system in place of private cars," Kant said.

His remarks came ahead of the two-day "MOVE: Global Mobility Summit" which will be inaugurated on Friday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The focus of the summit is on raising awareness about various aspects of Mobility and bringing various stakeholders involved in enhancing mobility across different platforms.

NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that with disruptions in the mobility sector, India will be able to generate more employment and enhance the ease of living for citizens in the country.

He said India needed a convergent strategy to tackle the challenge of rising pollution through evolving a mobility system which is more connected, shared and seamless. He said all government departments needed to cooperate among each other to achieve that objective.

Road Transport and Highways Secretary Yudhvir Malik said that optimal utilisation of road space, along with giving priority to road safety is the future of mobility in India.

The Global Mobility Summit is the first of its kind, with over 2,200 participants expected from across the world including leaders from the government, industry, research organisations, academia, think tanks and civil society.

"In the months leading up the conclave, consultations were held across states... State-specific issues will also be discussed (during the summit), to evolve a shared, connected, zero emission and inclusive mobility agenda for the future," an official statement said.