Amid renewed public debate over road safety after the tragic death of Cyrus Mistry, Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday asked automobile manufacturers to be quality centric and not cost centric. Speaking at the 62nd annual session of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), he said automobile manufacturers must adopt new technology to reduce costs, provide more comfort to customers, reduce imports and increase exports.
"I tell my friends in the automobile sector that you should be quality centric, not cost centric. because choices of people are changing," said Gadkari, who is known for his frank views. Former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry was killed in a road accident on September 4 after his car hit a divider in Maharashtra's Palghar district. Referring to the vehicle scrappage policy, Gadkari said transport and steel ministries will again urge the finance ministry to considering reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST).
"Yesterday, I had a meeting with Steel Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. Again both of us are going to meet the finance minister and request her to give GST concession for new purchase of vehicles against scrapping of old ones," Gadkari said, adding that it can be a win-win situation for all.
The minister also suggested that automobile manufacturers can offer some discounts to people for new purchases of vehicles against scrapping of old ones. "I don't want to make it mandatory...Is it possible for automobile manufacturers to offer some discounts for purchase of trucks, for four wheelers, buses against scrapping of old ones. "It ( discounts) may be Rs 50,000 for trucks and buses, for small vehicles it may be less, then that can be an incentive," he said.
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The vehicle scrappage policy has come into effect from April 1, 2022. Announced in the Union Budget 2021-22, the policy provides for fitness tests after 20 years for personal vehicles, while commercial vehicles will require it after the completion of 15 years.