“Also A Reason”: Nitin Gadkari Backs Finance Minister’s “Ola-Uber” Remark

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Nitin Gadkari said he is confident that there will be reform in the auto sector. (File)

New Delhi:

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has backed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's comments linking millennials' preference for Uber and Ola cabs to the slowdown in the auto sector.

Ms Sitharaman's comments on Tuesday had triggered strong reactions on the internet and drew the opposition's criticism. She said some studies had revealed that there was a change
in the mindset of millenials not to commit to monthly instalments for buying their own vehicles.

"Automobile sector, in particular, has been affected by several things. These include BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) movement, the registration fee issue that has been deferred till June and the mindset of millennials, who are now preferring not to commit EMIs to buying automobiles but prefer to use Ola or Uber or take the metro," Ms Sitharaman had said in Chennai.

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Nirmala Sitharaman's comments on Tuesday had triggered strong reactions.

"That is also one of the reasons. Somewhere because of the global economy, business cycle and demand and supply there is a problem. Somewhere the manufacturing was more than the expectation. Now it is a problem," he told news agency ANI when asked to comment on Ms Sitharaman's remarks.

The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the Finance Minister, saying it reflected the "inefficiency, immaturity, and inexperience" of the BJP in governance and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise for it.

Mr Gadkari said his ministry is charting out a way to uplift the automobile industry with the help of the finance ministry.

"The government is with the industry because it is an employment provider. It also contributes to the growth rate. So, we are very sensitive about it. Finance Ministry and my ministry are seriously considering a lot of things for them. I am confident that there will be reform in the sector. I am expecting that India will become the manufacturing hub of the automobile," he said

The automobile sector, which employs more than three crore people, is reeling from one of the worst slowdowns of the past two decades.

Hero MotoCorp, India's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, reported a 20 per cent drop in sales last month. Maruti Suzuki suffered a 34 per cent reduction in sales for the same period. Sales of trucks and tractors have also been badly hit, with Ashok Leyland reporting a massive 70 per cent drop and M&M a 15 per cent drop.

Last month, in an effort to help boost sales, Ms Sitharaman announced a number of measures, including ordering government departments to buy new cars to replace old ones; there had previously been a ban on purchase of new cars.

She also deferred, till June 2020, a hike in vehicle registration fee, and clarified that BS IV vehicles purchased up to March 31, 2020, would be allowed to run despite the government introducing the stricter BS VI norms.

(With inputs from ANI)

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