BJP defends FM's remarks on auto sector slump

Published: Sep 11, 2019, 16:15 IST | |

The party’s vice president stood by the finance minister’s comment that emergence of cab services did impact the automobile industry as millennials found shared mobility convenient

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

BJP on Wednesday sought to defend Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for saying millenials were averse to EMIs and their preference for Uber and Ola were the major reasons for the slump in automobile sector.

Party Vice President Baijayant Panda told ANI that emergence of cab services did impact the automobile industry as millennials found shared mobility convenient.

Yesterday, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the ongoing slump in the automobile sector can be traced to a factor that millennials do not want to commit themselves to EMIs.

Panda also launched a scathing counter-attack on the opposition Congress.

"Two things here -- First, Congress is not in a position to talk about the economy. When Vajpayee government ended, because of a lot of difficult reforms, it ended with a growth rate of 9 per cent and inflation of 4.5 per cent. When UPA government took over, during the first term they continued to be benefited from the momentum of the Vajpayee era. They did not bring any reforms," Panda said.

He said the numbers declined during the UPA government. "The Congress-led UPA era ended with inflation at 9 per cent and growth rate at 4 per cent. All due to mismanagement," he said.

The BJP leader said that even during its second term, the UPA did not initiate any reforms.

"It was an era of lots of scams and scandals. It took the Modi government to raise the growth rate to 8 per cent. Good economic management, inflation is low. What is happening now is a factor of external factors as the global economy has slowed down and it has an impact on the Indian economy as well. We are not happy about it but we are trying to deal with it but it is still better," he said.

Accepting that the automobile sector was not doing particularly well, he said there were sectors that were doing very well.

"Amazon for that matter has opened centre giving jobs to 15,000 people. IT sector has had the biggest hiring jump in the first quarter. FDI has seen a 28 per cent increase. It is a mixed picture," he said.

Trying to present a complete perspective of the automobile sector, Panda said that some niche and new entrants to the market were still doing well.

"In the automobile sector, some new entrants are doing very well. But it is true some of the established brands are facing a tough time. But what finance minister said is also true and said by many like industry leader Uday Kotak, who certainly understands finance. New paradigm such as Uber and Ola are having an impact like it had in other countries," he said.

"Some people are unnecessarily trying to criticise the finance minister for no reason. We should separate fact from emotions. It is a fact that Uber and Ola are impacting the business. We cannot like it but we should accept facts," he added.

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