Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday defended Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Ola-Uber statement and said that she was being misquoted and misinterpreted.
In an exclusive interview with India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, Nitin Gadkari said, “The finance minister’s statement is being misinterpreted…misquoted.”
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday, Nirmala Sitharaman had said that automobile industry was under stress because of “the mindsets of millennial, who now prefer to have Ola or Uber rather than committing to buying an automobile”. She also blamed the upcoming BS6 emission norms for the slump.
Blaming “global economy, demand and supply and the business cycle”, Nitin Gadkari said that there were several reasons for the slowdown being faced in the auto sector these days.
He said that millenials today have access to cabs on their phones and need not worry about parking.
In the interview, Nitin Gadkari said that he used to say that there are two things in India that never seize to grow — automobiles and population.
“Production was full fledged till now. While the production was rising, industry benefited,” Nitin Gadkari said, while adding, “Our job is to help them, we are with them.”
Soon after the interview, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra also defended Finance Minister’s Nirmala Nitharaman’s Ola-Uber statement during the News Today show with Rajdeep Sardesai. Sambit Patra said that a number of reasons were to be blamed for the slowdown in the auto sector including transition to Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) from BS4.
He also said that the there was a 15 per cent increase in prices of automobiles due to additional features being added to cars like airbags. Presence of Ola and Uber are also an important contributing factor, Sambit Patra added.
Ex-MD of Maruti Udyog Jagdish Khattar, who was one of the panelists on the show, said that things had been building up for a while and the regulations have changed which may have confused the consumers.
He defended the manufacturers, saying that the production planning is decided a year earlier and hence it is very difficult to change the production plans last minute.
This comes as truck maker Ashok Leyland recently decided to cut down the number of working days across various plants across the country.
Ashok Leyland has announced a total of over 55 non-working days across its plants in the country.
It announced 18 non-working days at its Pantnagar plant, 16 days at Ennore plant, 10 days each at Alwar and Bhandara, and five days at Hosur plant.
The company cited continued weak demand for its products as a reason behind calling the non-working days. In a report dated July 31, 2019, the company had said its revenue fell by 9 per cent.
Source – India Today