There cannot be situation where the market is India, but jobs are created in China, the union government told Parliament on Tuesday, in a clear sign that there will not be any relaxations to top electric vehicle maker Tesla.
The minister of state for heavy industries Krishan Pal Gurjar told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that Tesla is yet to apply for schemes as per the government’s policy.
Earlier, CBIC chairman Vivek Johri has said the current tariff structure for imports is not a hindrance for companies and turned down a demand of Elon Musk’s for tax breaks to import electric cars
“We looked at whether the duties need to be re-jigged, but some domestic production is happening and some investments have come in with the current tariff structure,” Vivek Johri said in an interview earlier. “So, it is clear that this is not a hindrance.”
Last month, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said the company is working through a lot of challenges with the government to launch its products in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has encouraged Tesla to produce locally, while Musk wants India to lower taxes — as high as 100% on imported EVs — to enable the company to first sell vehicles built elsewhere at competitive prices.
Tesla has yet to present a plan for local manufacturing and procurement from India, even after the government asked for it, Johri said. The federal budget earlier this week didn’t mention any tax breaks for cleaner but imported vehicles, even though the western state of Maharashtra — home to financial capital Mumbai — publicly backed Tesla’s demands.
Politicians from at least five Indian states have invited Tesla to set up shop in their provinces after Musk said last month the U.S. electric-vehicle pioneer was still facing a lot of challenges with the federal government. India has asked Tesla to consider importing so-called knocked-down units or partially built vehicles, which attract a lower import levy, instead of fully-built units.
Responding to a query on Tesla, the minister said “the company wants workers from China and market of India. This is not possible in Modi government… our government’s policy is that if india market is to be used, job opportunities will have to be given to Indians.”
The minister’s reply came in response to a question by Congress member K Suresh on whether the government would invite Tesla to enter the Indian market and steps being taken to promote mass production of electric vehicles in the country.
“Want to ask the member if they want india’s money to go to China? That company has not applied as per our policy. For that (company), doors of India are open, they can come apply as per policy, set up company, give jobs to our people, increase government revenue,” the minister said.
“Modiji ki sarkar mein ye nahi ho sakta ki rozgar Cheen ko aur market Bharat ki… Modiji sarkar ki neeti hai ki agar market Bharat ki hai, rozgar bhi Bharat ke logon ko milega…. (Under Modi government, it cannot happen that jobs are in China while market is India… The government’s policy is that if the market is India, then peope in India should get jobs),” Gurjar said.
He was responding to another member’s query about the government’s position on exemptions sought by Tesla and some states expressing interest to have the company’s manufacturing units.
Tesla should follow the lead of domestic companies like Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Tata Motors Ltd., which are investing in building local capacity for electric vehicles, Johri said. “There are others importing completely built units. That route is open,” he said.
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