India’s e-rickshaws drive market boom

As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase by about 9 percent. (Photo: asia.nikkei)
Updated 27 October 2018
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India’s e-rickshaws drive market boom

  • As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase by about 9 percent by 2021

NEW DELHI: Rajan Kashyap, 28, is more relaxed than he was three years ago, when he was constantly in debt.
He attributes his more relaxed life to the electric rickshaw, or e-rickshaw as it is popularly known.
He used to be a small-time sculptor, but within a year of buying the three-wheel e-rickshaw, he was able to extricate himself from debt.
“In three years, I managed to buy three e-rickshaws from the money I saved,” Kashyap, who uses his e-rickshaw in New Delhi, told Arab News.
“One I run myself, and the other two are given on rentals and they fetch me good money every month,” he said. “I earn 1,200-1500 rupees ($16-$21) per day, which is almost double the money I earned in my previous job.”
Today, e-rickshaws are the most visible vehicles in New Delhi and many other parts of India. In the national capital, the number of e-rickshaws has risen from 4,000 in 2010 to more than 100,000 by 2017, according to a report by the New Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society.
As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month, and annual sales are expected to increase by about 9 percent by 2021, Bloomberg reported.
New Delhi-based economist Prerna Raj said they represent a $2 billion market in India. The Finance Ministry is reportedly planning to spend about 40 billion rupees in the next five years to improve the country’s charging infrastructure and to subsidize e-buses.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of the National Institution for Transforming India, a government think tank, said: “The future lies in electric mobility, and India needs to take a lead in this.”
He added: “If we are able to make technological breakthroughs in the areas of storage and batteries, if we can make a massive breakthrough in electric mobility, India will leapfrog the world.”
E-rickshaw operator Moni Kumar said: “The main challenge remains the charging of batteries. The government needs to provide facilities for charging batteries.”
Another issue affecting the growth of the e-rickshaw market is accessibility to loans. E-rickshaw manufacturer Shishir Agrawal told Arab News: “Poor drivers need subsidies and loans, and the government needs to work on that. If that’s taken care of, India will see a boom in e-rickshaw growth.”


Japan's crown prince hopes to continue father's legacy

In this Feb. 17, 2019, photo provided by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan, Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako pose for a photo at their residence Togu Palace in Tokyo. Naruhito celebrates his 59th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. (AP)
Updated 17 min 47 sec ago
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Japan's crown prince hopes to continue father's legacy

  • The Japanese throne is only inherited by male heirs, and Naruhito's only child is a daughter. Prince Akishino and his young son Hisahito are next in the line of succession after Naruhito

TOKYO: Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito says he hopes to continue the close relationship his father built with the people when he succeeds him as emperor later this year.
Naruhito, who turns 59 on Saturday, will ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 after Emperor Akihito abdicates.
"I feel very solemn when I think about the future," he said at an annual pre-birthday news conference Thursday. His remarks were embargoed from publication until Saturday.
"While I continue to prepare for this role, I would like to maintain the past emperors' work. I would like to think about the people and pray for the people," he said.
His wife, Masako will also assume a new role as empress. The former diplomat has suffered from stress and has often skipped public events, and it's unclear how she will manage her new role as empress.
"Although Masako is steadily recovering, her condition still fluctuates. I would like Masako to continue to slowly widen her contribution in her role," Naruhito said, adding he hopes to support his wife just as she has supported him.
Naruhito's younger brother, Prince Akishino, and his family are also expected to play a major role. The Japanese throne is only inherited by male heirs, and Naruhito's only child is a daughter. Prince Akishino and his young son Hisahito are next in the line of succession after Naruhito.
Akihito's desire to leave the throne revived a debate about the country's 2,000-year-old monarchy, one of the world's oldest, as well as discussion about improving the status of female members of the shrinking royal population.
"This problem will relate to the imperial family of the future. I would like to refrain from giving any opinions on the system," the crown prince said.
Those who are concerned about the future of the royal family with shrinking membership want to allow women to ascend the throne and others to keep their royal status so they can keep performing public duties, but a government panel has avoided the divisive issue.
Even before the 1947 Imperial Law, reigning empresses were rare, usually serving as stand-ins for a few years until a suitable male can be installed. The last reigning empress was Gosakuramachi, who assumed the throne in 1763.
Debate over the succession law, however, is emotional. Some conservatives proposed a revival of concubines to produce imperial heirs, and others argued that allowing a woman on the throne would destroy a precious Japanese tradition.