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Nitin Gadkari To Be Back As Transport Minister A Third Time!

NItin Gadkari back as Transport Minister

Relief for Automobile Industry: Consistent Policies Expected with Gadkari’s Third Term

Immediately after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were out, there was speculation on how the ministerial berths would be decided between the BJP and its allies who will prop up the NDA. Five days after the results, it is increasingly looking like MoRTH minister Nitin Gadkari would retain his position. Overall, this is to be welcomed by the industry which has grown steadily under him.

Nitin Gadkari To Be Back As Transport Minister A Third Time!

Nitin Gadkari is likely to retain his position as the Minister of Road Transport and Highways in the Modi 3.0 cabinet according to this NDTV report quoting unnamed BJP sources. Gadkari’s retention is attributed to his significant achievements in expanding road connectivity during the first two terms of the Modi government.

Gadkari won the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat for the third consecutive time, though his winning margin decreased by 78,397 votes, standing at 1.37 lakh votes. That would be a worry, but then the next elections are 5 years away (hopefully) so he can deal with it later.

The BJP faces challenges in allocating ministerial positions due to its lack of a majority and the need to accommodate coalition partners like N Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar. Despite coalition pressures, the BJP is determined to keep control of key ministries, including Home, Finance, Defence, and External Affairs. BJP sources indicate reluctance to hand over the road transport portfolio to allies, emphasizing the importance of continuing the momentum in road expansion. The growth of highway infrastructure has been a matter of pride for the BJP, something that another ally could take away if the portfolio is allocated to them.

Nitin Gadkari To Be Back As Transport Minister A Third Time!

Nitin Gadkari’s achievements

From 2014 to 2023, the national highways network increased by 60%, from 91,287 km to 1,46,145 km. The length of four-lane national highways increased by 2.5 times during Gadkari’s tenure, while the length of single-lane stretches decreased.

The average pace of national highway construction increased by 143% under Gadkari’s leadership. Gadkari launched the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme for safety ratings of passenger cars, enhancing vehicle safety standards.  Gadkari has served as the MoRTH minister for ten years, significantly transforming India’s road and highway infrastructure.

Gadkari mandated safety features such as ABS, speed alert systems, reverse parking sensors, and driver airbags, improving road safety. He has been instrumental in promoting electric vehicles and advocated for lower taxes on hybrid cars, though this proposal was rejected by the Finance Ministry.

Gadkari introduced the Fastag system for toll collection and implemented BS6 emission standards, reducing traffic congestion and vehicular pollution. He pushed for mandatory six airbags in all vehicles and made rear seatbelt use compulsory for enhanced passenger safety. He promoted higher ethanol blending in petrol and green hydrogen as future fuels to reduce pollution and reliance on fossil fuels. Gadkari increased fines for road offenses to enhance road discipline and reduce traffic violations.

Controversies

There were some controversies too, such as proposing a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles by 2024 and developing US-standard highways in India. There were several times when his statements were misinterpreted leading to confusion in the industry. And there was the time when he said that the horn sounds of Indian vehicles would be changed to that of Indian musical instruments, something that was probably a joke but got lost in translation. Gadkari often accused the media of misquoting him and threatened legal action against those distorting his words.