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Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

Nitin Gadkari and who will become next Morth minister

Update: According to BJP sources, Nitin Gadkari will get a third term

9/6/2024: NDTV reports that a third term for Nitin Gadkari is assured, as his capabilities are required to continue the infrastructure progress India has made in the last ten years. Along with important portfolios like Finance  and Home, this is one portfolio that is likely to remain with BJP.

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

Four days after Lok Sabha elections and things are still in flux.

Indian Politician Nitin Gadkari is one of the veteran members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has made a big name for himself as a senior union minister. He has served as the Minister of Road Transport and Highways in India for the past decade. Under his leadership, India’s infrastructure, particularly in terms of road and highway development, has seen significant changes. At present, there is uncertainty in the air as to who will become the next Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways. But before talking about that, let’s take a look at the good and bad bits of Mr. Gadkari’s 10 year tenure as MoRTH minister.

 

Gadkari’s Accomplishments

First off, let’s start with the accomplishments of Mr. Gadkari as the Minister of Road Transport and Highways.

Mandatory Safety Features

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

One of Gadkari’s most notable contributions to the Indian automotive industry and car buyers has been his stance on safety. In his two terms as the MoRTH minister, he has focused on the implementation of stringent vehicle safety norms.

He mandated the installation of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS), speed alert systems, reverse parking sensors, and driver airbags in all vehicles. These measures over the years have significantly enhanced road safety. They have had a direct impact on reducing the number of accidents and fatalities.

Electric car push

Gadkari has also been instrumental in pushing for the wide adoption of electric cars. Personally, he is also fascinated by Hydrogen cars and had a Toyota Mirai for a while. In the recent past, he expressed his desire that even hybrid cars should be taxed at a low GST rate – something that would have brought down the prices of Honda City hybrid, Maruti Grand Vitara and Toyota Hyryder, Hycross and Maruti Invicto. This proposal, however, was rejected by the Finance Ministry.

Fastag and BS6 Emissions

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

Another big achievement of Nitin Gadkari is the introduction of the Fastag system. This system helped in streamlining toll collection across highways. It has helped in reducing traffic congestion and promoting efficient fuel use, along with ease of travel.

Additionally, he also implemented the transition to BS6 emission standards. Under his leadership, this transition has been very pivotal in reducing vehicular pollution. This, in turn, has contributed to cleaner air in urban areas.

Six Airbags and Rear Seatbelts

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?
Kia Seltos features six airbags

In addition to mandating the installation of two airbags in all new cars sold after April 2021, Nitin Gadkari also announced that he would be increasing passenger safety by making six airbags mandatory in all vehicles. However, this rule received a lot of backlash from the automotive industry. Thankfully, now we are slowly seeing automakers implementing this safety feature by themselves.

Following the tragic accident involving Cyrus Mistry, Nitin Gadkari also made rear seatbelt use compulsory. He emphasized that it is extremely important for the safety of all passengers. He highlighted that it is not just those in the front seats that should wear seatbelts; rather, everyone should be belted at any given time.

Ethanol Blending and Green Hydrogen

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?
Nitin Gadkari with Innova HyCross Hybrid

To curb the increasing pollution levels in the country, Gadkari has been relentlessly promoting alternative fuels. He has pushed for higher ethanol blending in petrol. This is expected to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions.

Apart from this, he has been a huge advocate for green hydrogen as a future fuel. He stated that it aligns with global trends towards sustainable energy sources. The former MoRTH minister also proposed tax breaks for hybrid cars. He stated that this could make these environmentally friendly vehicles more affordable for the average consumer.

Steeper Fines for Road Offenses

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

Another one of his greatest contributions has been a steep increase in fines for road offenses. To help in reducing traffic violations and enhancing road discipline, Gadkari’s ministry introduced steep increases in fines for various road offenses. This move helped in reducing reckless driving and ensuring better compliance with traffic regulations.

Controversial Statements

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

No human is perfect, and everyone has done and said some questionable things. Nitin Gadkari, despite being right on many occasions, has been wrong at some as well. Here are the controversial statements he has made over the years.

Ban on Petrol and Diesel Vehicles

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

One of Gadkari’s biggest claims was his declaration to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2024. While this announcement highlighted his commitment to green energy, it has been widely criticized as unrealistic. This is because, given India’s current infrastructure and readiness for such a transition, it seems extremely far-fetched to achieve this target.

US-standard highways in India

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?
Mumbai-Pune expressway

Gadkari has often stated his ambition to develop Indian highways to match the standards of those in the United States. Now, this is a very good and ambitious goal, and significant improvements have been made. It has to be noted that achieving such a benchmark remains a distant goal. This is due to the vast differences in scale, resources, and existing infrastructure between the two countries.

Employment and Driverless Cars

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

Gadkari has also taken a strong stance against the introduction of driverless cars in India. He has on numerous occasions cited that it could cause the potential loss of jobs for millions of drivers. This conservative view has sparked debates in the country.

Proposed a law to make horns sound like musical instruments

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

Mr. Gadkari was famously quoted as saying that he would bring a law that would mandate that all automotive horns sound like musical instruments.

Legal Threats Over Media Misrepresentation

Nitin Gadkari has frequently accused the media of misquoting him or taking his statements out of context. He has, on many occasions, threatened legal action against those he claimed were distorting his words for political advancements.

Who Will Become the Next Minister of Road Transport and Highways?

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

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As Gadkari’s decade-long tenure as the MoRTH minister has approached its end, there is an uncertainty if he would be given this position again. Numerous people are speculating that he might not become the MoRTH minister once again.

The primary reason behind this is that in the recent elections, BJP failed to achieve the majority number of seats required to form the government. It is now relying on its NDA alliance partners to form the government. As a trade-off, BJP could now be handing over a few of the important ministerial positions to its alliance partners Janata Dal (United) (JDU) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Ten Years of Nitin Gadkari – Who Next?

This uncertainty extends to the broader political scenario, with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s return not guaranteed. So at this moment, it has become a challenge to predict who will take up the position of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways next.