In what comes as good news for the futuristic electric vehicles (EVs) sector, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, Nitin Gadkari said, “About 81 per cent of lithium-ion batteries is already being manufactured in India and I am confident that within the next six months, we will be in a position to make 100 per cent of all lithium-ion batteries in the country.” Gadkari, who is also the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), was speaking at TNIE’s ThinkEdu Conclave 2021. He was in conversation with TNIE’s Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla.
The MSME Minister cleared the air with regards to a “feeling in the market” that there is a shortage of lithium and said that it is not a problem at all. He also expressed belief in the fact that their other green moves will ensure that within the next two years, the prices of EV vehicles will be equal to that of a petrol or diesel-run vehicle. “Pollution is a big concern. Air pollution comes from power plants and automobiles. This is the time when we need to take action,” he stated.
Gadkari also spoke about different sectors like education and health and the scope they offer. “We can build 600 medical colleges, 50 AIIMS, open 500 colleges for nursing, for paramedical courses there is huge potential in the medical sector. With education and skill development, the health sector is important. We need to develop the young generation and give them facilities, like sports,” said Gadkari.
Talking about communication, one of the major aspects of development, Gadkari said that while there was a lot happening when it comes to IT, electronics and Digital India, we need to start manufacturing hardware in India. “Now our petroleum import bill is Rs 8 lakh crore. We need to develop computer and electronic hardware in the country. If we don’t, our import bill, within five years, will be more than Rs 25 lakh crore,” he said. “As an MSME Minister, my ministry contributes 30 per cent in the GDP growth and 48 per cent of the export of our country is from MSMEs. Until now, we have created 11 crore jobs. Our idea now is to take our contribution to 40 per cent, the 48 per cent export we want to take it up to 60 per cent and we are planning to create five crore new jobs. The village industry turnover is `88 thousand crore, within five years we want to make it five lakh crores [rupees],” he added.