Union road, transport and highway minister Nitin Gadkari has said that if India can use recently discovered reserve of lithium in Jammu and Kashmir, it will become number one automobile manufacturing country in the world.
Addressing an event organised by industry body CII, Mr Gadkari said there is a need to encourage public transport, and electric buses are the future.
"Every year, we import 1,200 tonnes of lithium. Now, in Jammu and Kashmir, we got lithium. (If) we can use this lithium ion, we will be the number one automobile manufacturing country in the world," he said.
India has beaten Japan to become the third largest vehicle market in 2022 after China and the USA.
According to Mr Gadkari, presently India's automobile industry is worth Rs 7.5 lakh crore, and the sector's contribution to the overall GST revenue is maximum.
The estimated 5.9-million tonne reserve of lithium, a crucial mineral for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, had been discovered in Reasi district by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
"Lithium falls in the critical resource category, which was not earlier available in India and we were dependent for its 100 per cent import. The G3 (advanced) study of the GSI shows the presence of best quality lithium in abundant quantity in the foothills of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Salal village (Reasi)," J&K mining secretary Amit Sharma told Press Trust of India.
Mr Gadkari noted that good infrastructure is needed for the development of any country.
"With our innovative approach, we can develop the backward area, increase the growth and at the same time create employment potential," he said.
The minister also asked industry leaders to invest in vehicle scrapping.
Mr Gadkari also stressed on the need of reducing India's logistics cost to single digit by 2024 from 16 per cent of GDP presently.
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