Finance ministry wants govt departments to lease e-vehicles

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New Delhi, Dec 26: Signalling a push for green fuel, the finance ministry has asked all government departments to switch over from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles while hiring cars for officials in the capital.
With a dwindling fleet of vehicles owned by it, the move will impact a large number of vehicles hired by government departments as leases come up for renewal. In recent years, to cut down on manpower and maintenance costs, government departments have opted to lease vehicles barring a few that ferry ministers and top-ranking officers. In addition, the demand for vehicles has steadily increased as even low-ranking officers have been given individual vehicles, a perk that was earlier reserved for joint secretary and higher rank officers.
The move is in line with the government’s policy thrust of having 30% electric vehicles on the road by 30% as it is seen to be friendly to environment and has a lower operating cost, the expenditure department said in a note to other government departments. While North Block has issued the circular and also attached a revamped lease document, it has not given a deadline for a complete switchover with officials arguing that there are several challenges in implementing the proposal.
To begin with the government’s own experiment to lease 10,000 electric vehicles from public sector Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has not fully taken off. In fact a second tender for vehicles from companies such as Tata and Mahindra has not been issued as the manufacturers are yet to complete the first order.
Besides, drivers complain of operational issues with the vehicles, which are usually assigned to junior officials.
Further, officials pointed out that the charging infrastructure is inadequate with only a few chargers in NITI Aayog and just one point in Udyog Bhawan and a few other government offices.