During a discussion at the ET Markets Pre-Budget Meet in Mumbai on
Friday (19 Jan, ‘18) Union Transport Minister urged the car makers to make more
vehicles that can run on fossil-fuel substitutes so that India’s annual oil
import bill of Rs 7 lakh crore can be reduced.
He was categorical and no less emphatic in his statements: "It is part of my
conviction. We are importing crude oil worth Rs 7 lakh crore," Gadkari
told top banking and capital-markets experts during a discussion at the ET
Markets Pre-Budget Meet in Mumbai on Friday. "We don't need a timeframe.
This is going to happen regardless of whether our auto industry likes it or
not. They have to accept it.”
exhortation comes a day after the GST Council recommended reducing the producer
levy on biofuels to 12% from 18%, a move seen to simultaneously support the
farm sector and use cash saved on oil imports to help achieve New Delhi's
India imports more than
four-fifths of its crude oil needs.
The commodity dwarfs all others in the country's
shopping basket. Increasing overseas dependence on crude oil, particularly
during periods of tightening supplies and rising prices, typically widens
India's current account deficit while putting pressure on the currency and
On his part, the managing director of
India's biggest tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra said that the industry is
ready to accept the challenge, which is seen as the starting point in the
country's eventual transition to an all-electric fleet by 2030.
"We had the biofuels programme in Mahindra,
but the lack of biofuels availability back then had led us to defer it,"
said Pawan Goenka, who was also attending the event. "You will soon see a
lot of vehicles running on biofuels. This is a very big incentive to introduce
the technology which will ultimately reduce oil import costs."Biofuels are
often used as gasoline substitutes in the US and Brazil, where increasingly
vehicles are manufactured to run both on traditional fossil fuels and greener