By 2025 India will have 22 million obsolete vehicles. Where will they go to die?

Acknowledged the world over for producing best in class yet affordable automobiles, the Indian automobile industry also makes up half of the nation's manufacturing GDP. However, the rapid strides of the industry is also causing considerable headache for the nation.

The auto industry is considered as one of the largest polluters across the globe and there has always been considerable pressure on the sector to clean up. In India, the auto manufacturers, including numerous OEMs (Original equipment manufacturers) operating in the sector, do boast of a competitive positioning when it comes to leveraging on the increasingly popular idea of green manufacturing. The shift to BS IV in April 2020 and its acceptance by the sector is seen as largely positive.

However, given the country's sheer size and expanse, several variations, types of technology employed, there is a gap in understanding among different players in the sector on the rationale behind a sustainability-led approach and what constitutes it.

The Human factor
The Indian auto and its component industry that manufactures a wide variety of products including engine parts, drive transmission and steering parts, body and chassis, equipment and electrical parts, etc, is considered to be the well-developed. “When it comes to auto components industry, we are a $57 billion industry, creating about 50 lakh jobs, so in that sense, we are a significant economic wealth creator and employment generator,” maintains Vinnie Mehta of Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA).

Among this section, a significant size of the blue-collar workforce is employed in the unorganized sector.“The Indian auto industry intends to create nearly 65 million additional jobs by 2026, around 32 million people are employed directly and indirectly by the sector, out of which at least 65% are contract workforce,” says Munira Loliwala, Business Head – EMPI, TeamLease Services. Loliwala adds that this specific segment has a faster growth rate and higher labour elasticity too.

“The backbone of the auto industry is its blue-collar category. Due to its emergence and existence as an unorganised belt, it has not scaled sufficiently. Lack of skills related to drawings and projects, gaps in programming skills, insufficient interpersonal growth and inadequate training facility within the component industry remains a challenge,” she contends.