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80L drivers will go jobless, won't allow driverless car: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari, India's Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has strongly opposed driverless cars, fearing job losses for drivers. While welcoming Tesla, Gadkari insisted they manufacture locally, not in China.

By Rashaad Ather
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Nitin Gadkari - Minister Of Road And Highways Of India

Indian Road Minister - Nitin Gadkari

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Nitin Gadkari, India's Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has always opposed introducing driverless cars, or electric vehicles in India.

The popular Member of Parliament from Maharashtra's Nagpur was quoted last year by Business Today as saying, “I will never allow driverless cars to come into India because it will take away the jobs of several drivers, and I will not let that happen.” 

He boldly stated this when PM Modi prepared to welcome Elon Musk's Tesla to operate in India. 

Now, with Musk’s autonomous vehicle company, Tesla, seemingly missing in action in investment talks with PM Modi, Gadkari’s statement is going viral on social media.

Gadkari also said Tesla is welcome in India although manufacturing in China for sales in India is not acceptable to him. 

'We will allow Tesla to come to India, but they cannot manufacture in China and sell their products in India. That is an impossible thing to happen,' Gadkari told Business Today.

Social Media Reaction:

Social media users are reacting to Gadkari’s viral statement as follows:

One user wrote: “Fact is Driverless cars are just not suitable for the Indian Roads. There is no sense of following the lane discipline, so just not possible I think”

Another user commented, “Autonomous driving won't take-off in India for the next few decades at least, not coz of overly self-important blokes like Gadkari,  but coz our road design, infrastructure, volume of pedestrian traffic etc, make self driven vehicles a safety hazard and a technical impossibility.”

A third user replied, “Thank you for standing up for our drivers, Minister Gadkari. Ensuring their employment is vital as we navigate technological changes. But this change will be there in the future whether we like it or not.”