‘Export incentives for auto firms on anvil’

New Delhi: The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) has sought feedback from auto industry groups on the initial proposal, which suggests giving incentives over five years to raise local production and procurement for export, the sources said.

The incentives would be based on the sales value of vehicles or components and eligible companies would need to meet certain conditions, including a minimum revenue and profit threshold and presence in at least 10 countries, two of the sources said, adding the form the incentives would take had not been decided.

DHI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The move is part of the effort to create ‘champion’ sectors to attract investment, generate jobs and boost manufacturing, and comes amid calls by the Prime Minister to be self-reliant as a nation. To promote exports, the country has identified some sectors, including autos and textiles, for which incentive plans are being designed, said a senior government official.

For autos the Centre has engaged with stakeholders. We have to see what needs to be done in the global context, said the official, adding even though talks are in early stages and details have not been finalised there is a plan to give a big push to the sector.

India’s auto sector exports touched $27 bn in the fiscal year ending March 2019, led by firms including Ford Motor, Hyundai Motor, Maruti Suzuki, Volkswagen and Bosch, which analysts say stand to gain the most. The push, however, comes at a time when auto sales globally have been battered because of the coronavirus pandemic and demand may take a while to recover.