Shifting focus to electro mobility will pose big challenge to Indian auto sector


By R. Natarajan, Managing Editor & Publisher, MOTORINDIA

The Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) organised its 181st Chamber Day in Chennai on September 26.

In his welcome address, Mr. Ram Venkataramani, President, MCCI, and Managing Director, I P Rings Ltd., gave an overview of the Chamber’s different key initiatives taken in line with the changing times. As a 181-year-old renowned Chamber, MCCI is always known for its rich and varied contribution for the country’s economy in general and to that of Tamil Nadu in particular.

Mr. Srivats Ram, Managing Director, Wheels India Ltd.

Referring to the current Indian economic scenario, Mr. Ram pointed out that the country has a highly dynamic and popular Prime Minister and all the key initiatives taken by him, including the ‘Make in India’ campaign, are well accepted all over. However, the country is facing some major issues like demonetisation that pose a lot of challenges to the various industry sectors, more particularly manufacturing. At the same time, despite these adverse factors, the country has been able to achieve a reasonable GDP growth.

Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran, Senior Adjunct Fellow (Geo Economic Studies), Gateway House – Indian Council on Global Relations, Mumbai, and Advisor to the Investment Committee, Lumen Capital Investors Pte Ltd., Singapore, who was the Guest of Honour on the occasion, in his address, gave a detailed presentation on ‘Assessment of Global and Indian Economic Prospects and Risks’. Despite the challenges, the country has succeeded in maintaining the growth momentum as compared to many other countries. According to the NFIB report, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany (SPIG nations) are incredibly inconsistent. Though in India, the monsoon is over, the dark clouds continue dominating the scene. The remedy for the Indian economy lay in transforming it for a higher growth rate.

The chief guest on the occasion, Mr. Srivats Ram, Managing Director, Wheels India Ltd. of the TVS Group, said that, ever since the BJP Government came to power at the Centre, there has been a lot of hope among industry circles that the Government will focus on growth and inclusiveness. Its performance has so far been encouraging. When the global GDP growth has touched 3.6%, the BJP Government faced a lot of challenges. However, Prime Minister Modi’s vision to empower the States in India, as well as encourage them to take drastic decisions would definitely have long-term implifications for the Indian economy. Further, various key initiatives taken so far to support core sectors like infrastructure, power, steel, etc., have enabled the Government to tackle all the problems. In road building and irrigation particularly, the Government has been exceptionally active to produce encouraging results.

Referring to the newly-introduced GST, Mr. Srivats Ram pointed out that many industries, including automobiles, are currently having its adverse impact, and it will take a few months for them to get back to normal. Though the recent focus of Government on electro mobility is a welcome step, it is not that easy to shift to new technology because the Indian auto sector currently earns 50% of the revenue from powertrain. Hence there is a need to re-educate the system, since a change-over to electro mobility would prove a bigger challenge to the industry due to the big technological transformation involved. To become a leader, one should have the ability to learn from uncertainty, he added.

Ms. Gayathri Sriram, Vice President, MCCI, and Managing Director, Ucal Auto Pvt. Ltd., proposed a vote of thanks.

As usual, Ms. K. Saraswathi, Secretary-General, MCCI, played a key role in making the 181st Chamber Day a big success.