The Delhi High Court has asked the Department of Heavy Industries, Government of India, to consider including hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure within the purview of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) in India Phase II scheme while disposing off public interest litigation (PIL). It also directed the government to consider utilising the unutilised funds from the FAME India Phase II scheme towards promoting and incentivizing demand for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles’ construction and operation of hydrogen refuelling stations.
This was in answer to the PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar, Advocate before a division bench of the High Court presided by Chief Justice D N Patel. In the PIL, it was mentioned that the FAME India Scheme aims at encouraging domestic manufacture of electric vehicles and to promote and create a market for electric vehicles in India. It added that the primary objective of the FAME scheme is to reduce the dependence on petroleum resources, counter the impact of internal combustion engine vehicles on the environment, and to keep pace with the gradual shift of the automobile industry towards alternate fuels including electric vehicles. It stated that the FAME scheme has not been able to properly utilise its budget towards adoption of electric vehicles and, for example, out of a total budget of INR 700 crores for setting up charging infrastructure only INR 20 crores have been disbursed in the period from 2019 up to February 10, 2021.
Hence, the PIL had sought court’s direction to the government to allocate a part of the unutilised funds from the FAME India Phase II Scheme for promoting and incentivizing demand for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and construction and operation of hydrogen refuelling stations.
Before the court, it was also brought to the notice that production of green hydrogen, using electrolysis of water, also generated 99% pure oxygen which would ensure that India never fell short of any oxygen supply in future. Mr. Ashwini Kumar said that the world is looking towards hydrogen as an important piece of the decarbonization puzzle and India is very well placed to tap this opportunity and develop as a global leader in hydrogen with massive solar & wind capacities to support such a clean energy future.