New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday defended Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark on auto industry slowdown in which she said that millennials switching to app-based cab aggregators like Ola and Uber was the reason for the downturn in the auto industry.

Gadkari said that the finance minister’s remark on auto industry slowdown contributed by Ola and Uber was misinterpreted. He said that there were, in fact, many reasons for the slowdown and Ola and Uber are one of the reason, not the only reason.

Speaking at the launch of the BS6 compliant Honda Activa 125, the union minister said, “there were a number of other reasons for the auto industry witnessing discouraging volumes month-on-month. The switch to e-rickshaws slowed down the sale of ICE auto-rickshaws, while another contributor was the improvement in public transport across the country”. He further explained that the Finance Minister said, "there are a lot of reasons for the slowdown, and the Ola, Uber are one of those reasons."

The auto industry has been requesting the government to reduce the GST rates by 10%. Speaking on the same Gadkari said, “I have discussed with the Finance Minister and the FM will decide in consultation with state governments. The ball is in the court of Finance Ministry as far as GST rate cut decision is concerned”.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said, "Automobile sector, in particular, has been affected by several things. These include BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) movement, the registration fee issue that has been deferred till June and the mindset of millennials, who are now preferring not to commit EMIs to buy automobiles but prefer to use Ola or Uber or take the metro,".

The remark draws attention of the critics and was criticized by the opposition leaders. Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Wednesday took a jibe on Sitharaman’s remark and in a rhetoric tweet said, "Modi ji's Twitter followers have crossed 50 million. The economy will cross 5 trillion (dollars), but how? Youths are not getting jobs. Will you hold opposition responsible even for this. Uber, Ola has ruined everything (Uber, Ola ne sab kar diya bantadhar)."

"Whatever good has happened has been done by us (Modinomics). Whatever bad has happened has been done by others (Nirmalanomics). Then, why have people elected you? (Publiconomics)," he said in another tweet.

Posted By: Talib Khan