Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has allayed misconception that the government intends to ban petrol and diesel vehicles.” There were discussions and the ministry had received suggestions that petrol-diesel vehicles should be banned. I would like to clarify that the government does not intend to ban petrol and diesel vehicles. We are not going to do anything like that,” Gadkari said addressing a gathering at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) annual convention held in Delhi on Thursday, September 6, 2019.Gadkari also assured the crisis-hit automobile industry of all possible support from the government, including taking up the demand of GST reduction with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Reiterating that the government would help the industry, the road transport and highways minister also said his ministry would give out 68 road projects worth up to Rs 5 lakh crore in the next three months to help generate demand for commercial vehicles. With the impending price increase of vehicles and the upcoming of BS VI norms deadline, “it is your (industry’s) demand that there should be reduction in tax of petrol and diesel vehicles. Your suggestions are good. I will take your message to the Finance Minister,” Gadkari said.
He recalled that India’s automobile industry had witnessed high volumes in terms of exports and the industry is providing tremendous employment opportunities. For pollution it was not correct to blame only vehicles. “Yes, they share some of the onus”, the minister added. “The pollution in Delhi affected the health of everyone and the world has also been critical about it. A Rs 50000 crore plan has been devised for Delhi to identify spots which cause pollution. About 29 per cent pollution in Delhi has been controlled under the plan, Gadkari said. The government has reduced GST on electric vehicles. “I am trying to convince the Finance Ministry to think about hybrids too,” he said. The automobile sector needs to focus more on quality. India can become number one manufacturing hub. The automobile firms should be quality-centric not cost centric, “Gadkari added”. The condition of the state transport corporation is not good. The government is putting all the efforts to bring the London transport model,” the Union Minister added. Gadkari said: “Public transport has potential. If we implement the London transport model then 12-15 lakh new buses will become operational.” II President – Designate, MD and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak, o urged automobile manufacturers to accord priority export markets to create additional avenue to overcome the slowdown in the domestic market while stressing that a weaker rupee will make it even more favorable. SIAM President Rajan Wadhera batted for reducing GST on automobiles to help it overcome the prolonged slowdown. There should be a single nodal regulatory ministry for the auto industry now being placed under several ministers regarding various functions. With the implementation of BS-VI norms from April next year, Wadhera said Indian auto industry will be at par with the best in the world for tackling pollution and hence, restrictions on different vehicles based on fuels must be removed, he added (edited by Pranab Kumar Chakravarty with inputs from various sources).