• No diesel cess plan, but car makers must think electric: Gadkari

    Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the government had no plans to levy a cess on diesel, adding that levy of any kind is a legislative decision and the right of the government, not the judiciary. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court in December 2015 had banned registration of diesel vehicles with over 2000 cc engines in the National Capital Region. In May, the apex court said it could modify its order banning the registration of luxury vehicles but it could impose a small environment cess. Gadkari was speaking at the Auto CEO Summit hosted by CNBC-TV18. “Our interest is to create new technology and give more opportunity to manufacturers to create maximum….I am always trying to convince them why you are not going for electric,” he said, adding that the auto industry needed to take a bold bet on electric cars. Gadkari said the auto sector must step up its research on electric vehicles, and find ways to bring down the cost of an electric vehicle on par with diesel and petrol vehicles. “Their (auto makers’) problem is: we are ready to manufacture it and reduce the cost, but what will be the demand,” Gadkari said. His view was that there will be takers for new technology which is pollution free and cost effective. Once prices came down, demand would increase, he said. Gadkari said the government would try to give subsidies to encourage production of electric cars, but there will always be limitations on how much subsidy could be given. He said the government had no plans to disincentivise use of diesel for now. “For the future, we can make the policy for diesel vehicles that the judiciary and society is making from us,” Gadkari said, adding “But if we take a decision immediately, what will happen to industry, employment.” Speaking at the event, Pawan Goenka of Mahindra and Mahindra said it was essential to have a automobile policy which did not change every now and then. RC Bhargava of Maruti said a continued dialogue between the government and auto industry was important for the growth of the sector and that there must be a scientific method in order to overcome the problem of pollution. Gadkari said that his ministry had submitted the vehicle scrapping policy to the Finance Ministry. The proposed ‘Voluntary Vehicle Fleet Modernisation Plan’ provides incentives worth 8-12 percent of the cost of a new vehicle against the surrender of the old vehicles. Through the policy, the government aims to get around 28 million 11-year old vehicles off the road, which will create fresh demand for the industry as well as reduce pollution. Timothy Liljegren Jersey

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