Days ahead of Elon Musk’s scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss Tesla and Starlink’s possible operations in India, top officials from the Ministries of Telecom and Heavy Industries, and the Niti Aayog held meetings centred around enhancing ease of doing business and further expansion of the e-mobility and satellite communications sectors.

There have been a series of meetings in different ministries on Thursday, including electric vehicle (EV) makers, with top officials of the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI), a source told businessline.

Niti Aayog officials, too, had a meeting with entrepreneurs on the Space sector, while the Minister of Telecommunications, Ashwini Vaishnaw, met with the Secretary DoT to discuss the visit, sources said.

The meeting at MHI was chaired by Secretary, Kamran Rizvi, and Additional Secretary, Hanif Qureshi, with the stakeholders from the auto industry, including companies such as Hyundai Motor India, Maruti Suzuki India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Vietnam-based VinFast, which is setting up a plant in Tamil Nadu.

While the representatives of the Indian companies were physically present at the meeting, Chief Executive Officer of VinFast joined the meeting via online from Vietnam. Interestingly, Tesla was represented by Gopal Nadadur who is the Vice-President for South Asia at The Asia Group. The Asia Group, which is a strategic advisory firm based in Washington DC, is the advisor to Tesla.

“The meeting was one of the first meetings of the new EV policy, where all stakeholders were called to give their thoughts and the advisor from Tesla was just attending the meeting through video link, but he did not give any opinion related to the policy,” a source privy to the meeting told businessline.

New EV policy

The source further mentioned that the MHI meeting also had representatives from IFCI, which will be helping the Ministry on streamlining of the applications under the new EV scheme.

The new policy is expected to come in July under the new government, which will be streamlining a proper roadmap for achieving 30 per cent of all vehicles sold in India, to be electric by 2030.

The Centre had last month approved an EV policy that will allow companies that invest a minimum of ₹4,150 crore or $500 million in India, meeting domestic value-added conditions, to import a limited number of vehicles at reduced customs duties.

The policy is aimed at attracting major multinational companies including Elon Musk’s Tesla, and promoting India as a manufacturing destination.

The customs duty of 15 per cent (as applicable to completely knocked-down units) would be applicable to vehicles with a minimum CIF value of $35,000 for five years, subject to the manufacturer setting up facilities in India within a three-year period.

Currently, vehicles below $40,000 attract customs duties of 70 per cent, while those above it attract 100 per cent.