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Budget boost to auto sector to help create more jobs: Nitin Gadkari

By February and March end, when final data comes our, I am confident we will be building 40 km of road per day, says Nitin Gadkari, Minister Road & Transport & Minister MSME. Excerpts:

Batteries for electric cars are expensive and are imported. What is being done there?
We are doing a lot of research particularly on Lithium ion batteries. We are supporting the air ion and steel ion or aluminium ion technology.

You have a meeting with the Prime Minister as well next week.
Yes we are organising a meeting with Niti Aayog and we are encouraging new startups and our IIT institutions and other people to make lithium ion batteries. After that, India is going to be the number one manufacturing hub for electric vehicles.

Looks like you know it is going to happen very soon with Tesla also coming in. What kind of welcome do we expect for Tesla?
First of all, automobile is the number one sector in the country and is creating maximum jobs. In the MSMEs, the small vendors are getting great contribution from the sector. The finance minister has already increased the taxes on the imported automobile components. So, naturally the Make In India and Made in India movements are going to get a boost and it is going to create more employment potential and add to growth in our country.

Coming to the infrastructure sector, you have also been forefronting a lot of developmental related activity for roads and highways. We have seen a big outlay for the sector. How critical it is going to be in giving the right kind of push?
It is a great thing for my department considering the problem was because of COVID-19, on an average, 28 km road could be built per day for last year. This year, up to the end of January, our construction average was 28 km per day. By February and March end, when final data comes our, I am confident we will reach 40 km per day.

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