The construction of numerous new highways around the country has provided a significant boost to the mobility sector. While 2022 has witnessed a healthy revival with Covid slowly vanishing, and industry stakeholders maintaining safety protocols better than ever, the mobility sector in the country is expecting the Government of India to dedicate more attention on targeted measures to promote shared mobility for long travel routes.
Sharing their expectations from the upcoming Union Budget 2023-24, the mobility sector is pushing for infrastructure boost along with favourable policy measures. Stakeholders feel there are still certain locations with weak connectivity that demand the government’s attention. Concentrating on building and improving national highways will cut distance and travel time while increasing connectivity.
Talking about mobility in the automobile sector, Greg Moran, CEO and Co-Founder, Zoomcar feels that the sector has been through numerous ups and downs in recent years. “In this year’s Union Budget, the government must renew its focus on enhancing infrastructure to make the production and usage of EVs and EV-related features, like charging stations, easier. The best alternative and most plausible solution for those seeking eco-friendly and sustainable commute options, apart from EVs, would be to rent cars. The government must encourage people to make sustainable choices when it comes to commuting. Renting an EV would be ideal for a majority of the population that wishes to own a car without the commitment and additional costs. We are hoping for the car rental sector to grow further and this progress is significantly reliant on the budget,” he mentioned.
Whereas, car rental platform Avis India feels that introduction of soft loans with lucrative terms can also act as a stimulant for the sector, which is still on its journey to post-pandemic revival.
“Travel and tourism have always been important contributors to the country’s GDP. During Covid, this sector was among the worst affected and is still far from pre-Covid levels. It is also a big generator of employment and in the current context of high unemployment, supporting this sector will pay rich dividends to the economy. It, therefore, behooves the government to give a special thrust to this sector. The upcoming Union Budget offers the government the perfect opportunity to do so by formulating provisions that aid the sector to recover from the losses it has borne during the last couple of years. As a travel-oriented business, we expect higher budgetary allocation to infrastructure to promote travel,” said Sunil Gupta, MD & CEO, Avis India.
Gupta further added that they are also looking forward to the government granting industry status to the travel and tourism sector, which will help in the regularisation of policies and processes and better access to finance.
“Measures like rationalisation of taxes, reduction in indirect taxes and related exemptions could also benefit the sector to a great extent by creating a favorable environment for people to spend their disposable income on travel. We expect that the upcoming budget announcement will lead the sector towards a period of prosperity.”
Sharing his expectations to boost the last mile connectivity in the country, Aditya Chamaria, Managing, Director, Damodar Ropeway and Infra Limited (DRIL) is hopeful that the government will take forward the “Parvatmala – National Ropeways Development Programme” for all the Himalayan states, which the Finance Minister announced last year in her Budget speech.
“We are hopeful that the government will take this scheme further as ropeways are among the most cost-effective and environment-friendly modes of transportation, highly suitable for hilly areas. Besides, the industry would also like the budget to increase subsidies to the sector, which is especially important when we talk about urban transport. This step will make setting up ropeways economically viable and add thrust to the government’s objective to provide last-mile connectivity to inaccessible regions. We would also request the FM for a push to “Make In India” on BIS standards, at least for all non-critical components. This move will bring down costs and promote a hybrid model while ensuring all Indian players have equal opportunities,” Chamaria added.
He also requested the government to implement single window clearance system as it will cut the volume of licenses, permits and bureaucratic hassles for a ropeway project and promote ease of business for this industry.
Emhasising on the direct tax reforms, Ashok Shastry, Founder and CEO, DriveU, on-demand car driver service and a super app for car owners said the Government should also relook current taxation system and basic exemption limit which was last changed in 2017-18.
“According to us, start-ups have great potential to fulfil the demand for jobs. This will change taxation and will start the circle of supply and demand which also boost employability. A faster expansion can be accomplished, transferring the industry quickly into the emerging e-mobility age and putting the Indian auto industry on the map of the world with solid rules and a clear strategy for the sector. A clear focus on direct tax reforms to enhance the consumption of products will boost domestic production,” Shastry added.