Recently, Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari gave an ultimatum to the Indian automobile sector on switching to vehicles that run on alternative fuel. Now, there has been uncertainty about a unilateral renegotiation of the deal for a diesel locomotives plant inked with General Electric Co. two years ago, with the railway ministry reportedly keen on switching to electric locomotives instead. Thankfully, the ministry has now clarified that the original deal is going ahead as intended.

The Narendra Modi administration is showing that it is serious about going green. This is good, but it needs to do so in a structured manner. Major manufacturing investments are not easily fungible. A locomotive manufacturing plant—or a four-wheeler assembly line, for that matter—is a long-term investment that depends upon policy and market stability for the returns that will make it feasible.

Forming a strong partnership with private industry is essential for a switch to clean technology—and for that, the government cannot have an adversarial approach.

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