Union Minister Nitin Gadkari claimed on Friday that India could become the world’s leading automobile manufacturing country in the electric car market if it can make use of the recently discovered lithium reserve in Jammu and Kashmir. Lithium is a crucial mineral for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, and currently, India imports 1,200 tonnes of lithium every year. However, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has recently discovered an estimated 5.9-million-tonne reserve of lithium in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Presently, India’s automobile industry is worth Rs 7.5 lakh crore, and the sector’s contribution to the overall GST revenue is maximum. Gadkari emphasized the need to promote public transportation, stating that electric buses were the way of the future. He also stressed the importance of good infrastructure for the development of any country and urged industry leaders to invest in vehicle scrapping.
The Significance of Lithium in India’s Automobile Industry
The discovery of lithium in India is significant, as it falls in the critical resource category, which was previously not available in the country. India was entirely dependent on importing lithium. However, the presence of the best quality lithium in abundant quantity in the foothills of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Salal village (Reasi) has been confirmed by the GSI. Lithium-ion batteries are a crucial component in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, which is the future of the automobile industry. The new lithium reserve will reduce India’s reliance on importing the mineral, making electric vehicle production more cost-effective and efficient in the country.
India’s Growing Automobile Industry
India has already beaten Japan to become the third-largest vehicle market in 2022 after China and the USA. According to Nitin Gadkari, India’s automobile industry’s present worth is Rs 7.5 lakh crore, and the sector’s contribution to the overall GST revenue is maximum. However, to continue the growth, the industry needs to invest in vehicle scrapping and reduce logistics costs to single digits by 2024 from the current 16 percent of GDP.
The discovery of the lithium reserve in Jammu and Kashmir has the potential to change India’s automobile industry’s dynamics, making the country a leader in the electric car market. Nitin Gadkari’s emphasis on promoting public transportation and investing in vehicle scrapping while reducing logistics costs will help maintain India’s automobile industry’s growth.