The next two decades in India will be marked by the ambitions and desires of the millions-strong and constantly expanding middle class that is aspiring to better and more deliberate consumption, greater choices and enhanced mobility. The growing prominence of this middle-income group is shaping Indian industry and innovation and prompting newer paths of development for the Indian economy as a whole. However, increased consumption among this group coincides with the challenge of a changing climate. How, then, can India meet the demands of these seemingly opposed urgencies?

For Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, clean technology and better governance provide a framework to fulfil both these needs. Rapid urbanisation and the stresses it poses on land and resource use will be offset by the expansion of public transport networks and the establishment of special mobility zones with zero fossil fuels and greater electric vehicles (EVs). Not only will these measures allow millions of Indians to remain mobile and enjoy the benefits of city life, but also prevent women, youth and other vulnerable populations from holding themselves back due to lack of access to safe transport. At the same time, these measures will inspire a fall in private vehicle adoption, thereby reducing potential air pollution as witnessed in India’s major cities.

To increase the share of electric vehicles in India’s vehicles on road, the government has already launched the acclaimed FAME-II policy through which both consumers and manufacturers have benefited. In Budget 2022-23, the finance minister furthered the push to Evs by announcing that the government will set up EV charging stations at scale. In addition, a battery swapping policy and interoperability standards will be implemented to overcome some of the challenges hindering EV adoption in the country. These measures will positively boost the nascent EV ecosystem in India and lead to the emergence of a strong private sector that provides sustainable and innovative business models in battery or energy as a service.

India has fixed ambitious targets for combatting climate change and set global standards for a decarbonised growth model. The emphasis on expanded public transport and EV adoption is yet another symbol of the country’s commitment to ensuring clean and sustainable growth for all.