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Govt working on steps to revive auto industry

11 September 2019

For the fiscal so far, passenger vehicle sales has declined by 23.54 percent at 11,09,930 units, commercial vehicles by 19 per cent at 317,061 units and two-wheelers at 15,14,196 units, 14.85 per cent less than past year.

The FM, while speaking to the media here on 100 days of the Modi government 2.0, said, "We are conscious that we need to respond". The tenth straight month of decline was also the steepest since 1997-98 when Siam started recording industry data. The auto industry has been hoping for a GST rate cut from 28 per cent to 18 per cent to bring it out of a demand slump.

Amid the worst slowdown in the Indian automobile sector, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the decline in auto sales is not due to just higher tax rates, but because of change in people's mindset.

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Hero MotoCorp, India's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, recorded a 20% drop in sales last month, with Maruti Suzuki suffering a 34% drop during the same period. "Now that's why I periodically remind that the automobiles in particular and the components together, have been affected by several things, inclusive of BS-VI movement, inclusive of that registration fee related matter, which we have deferred till June, inclusive of the mindset, some studies do tell us, the mindset of the millennials who are now preferring not to commit an EMI (equated monthly installment) towards buying automobiles, but would consider taking (cab aggregators) Ola, Uber and everything else or take the Metro".

According to data released by SIAM, two-wheeler sales - a key barometer of the rural economy - also dropped by 22.24 per cent to 1,514,196 units against 1,947,304 units in the same period previous year.

The sector slowdown has led to companies resorting to production cuts even as many dealers have laid off employees or shut shop themselves.

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On the job losses, the minister said the MUDRA scheme has generated jobs in the MSME sector.

Also she lifted the ban on purchase of vehicles by government departments and allowed additional 15 per cent depreciation on vehicles acquired till March 2020. I'm not underestimating it and we are not sitting without responding to it. The GDP growth rate is at five percent in one quarter, we won't compare it with earlier times. "Our full focus now is on how it will rise", she noted.

She also defended the bank mergers and said the effective dates for mergers should be decided by the bank boards.

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Govt working on steps to revive auto industry