New Delhi: Amidst a sentiment of gloom in the automobile sector, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has assured the industry that there will be no ban on petrol and diesel vehicles. He also told the industry that the government will extend all possible support, including taking up the demand of GST reduction with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Gadkari said that the road transport and highways ministry would give away 68 road projects worth up to Rs 5 lakh crore in the next three months to help generate demand for commercial vehicles.
In the backdrop of an impending price increase of vehicles and the upcoming BS-VI deadline, Gadkari sought to reach out to the industry while speaking at annual SIAM convention in New Delhi.
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"It is your (industry's) demand that there should be a reduction in tax on petrol and diesel vehicles. Your suggestions are good. I will take your message to the finance minister," the minister said. He added that just like the GST on electric vehicles has been slashed from 12 percent to 5 percent, he would ask the Finance Minister to extend the same benefit to hybrid vehicles as well.
In stark contrast to his stance in 2017, when Gadkari had said that the automobile industry would be "bulldozed" if they didn't push for electric vehicles, has struck a more reconciliatory tone now. The assurance comes just weeks after Gadkari went on record to say that Niti Aayog does not have the authority to set a deadline for transitioning to EVs.
"There have been talks that the government is planning to ban petrol and diesel vehicles. I want to make it clear that the government has no such plan. We are not going to do anything like that," he said this time.