Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday appeared to suggest that the sale of cars has gone down due to more people using the Delhi metro and cab aggregators Ola and Uber.
Hardeep Puri's remarks come weeks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the slowdown in the automobile sector was due to many factors like the change in mindset of millennials, who now prefer taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber instead of committing for monthly installments to own a car. Her remarks had come in for criticism from various quarters.
The Minister for Civil Aviation and Housing and Urban Affairs, while speaking at the launch of the book ''Sikh Heritage of Nepal'' at Sapru House, said there is talk of economic slowdown and he is one of those who always acknowledges a problem.
"To tell you the story on cars, yes there is a growth and sometimes there is a slowdown. But look at the picture in totality, when I became a minister for urban affairs the total number of people who used to ride the Delhi Metro was 2.4 million in a day, you know what it is today, it is over six million," Hardeep Singh Puri said.
"If you look at what Ola and Uber do. Now it stands to reason that when you transit from being a developing country to like...how many of us in New York used our own cars, I did not have a car," he said.
"If you wanted to get around somewhere you took a Delhi metro or a public transport or hailed a cab etc.," he said, adding that the world is changing.
Talking about the Urban Affairs Ministry, he said India will have 600 million people living in urban spaces by 2030.
"70 per cent of the India of 2030 is still to be built. A study showed that every year India has to construct something between 700-900 million sq metres of urban space --which is equivalent of one Chicago every year and that is what is happening," he said.
Much of the country's urban spaces have come up as a result of unplanned robust urbanisation, Hardeep Singh Puri said.
"We are in the process of announcing some decisions on how to confer rights to those living in these dilapidated unauthorised colonies," he said.
At the event, the book titled ''Sikh Heritage of Nepal'', was also released in the presence of India's Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri and Nepal Deputy Chief of Mission Bharat Kumar Regmi.
Manjeev Puri also gave a presentation on the Sikh community''s links with Nepal and the important role played by it in strengthening Indo-Nepal ties.
Commemorative Coins issued by Nepal marking the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak were also presented by the Nepalese diplomat to Hardeep Puri on the occasion.