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Praful Patel to meet Chidambaram; to suggest sops for auto sector

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New Delhi:

Noting auto industry is riding through a rough patch, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel today said he will meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the next two days and suggest a stimulus for the sector to revive growth.

 "The Indian automobile industry has slowed down dramatically which is a cause of worry," he told reporters on the sidelines of a Ficci function.

"So, we need to certainly see if there is any way to give impetus to the industry. I will be meeting the Finance Minister in a day or two and certainly put forward our views for his consideration," he said.

Passenger car sales in the country declined by 12.5 per cent to 1,41,083 units in December last year, the steepest fall in the last four months, due to high interest rates, rising fuel prices and overall slowdown in economic growth.

During April-December 2012, the overall year-on-year growth in domestic sales stood at 4.57 per cent. Mr Patel said with rising fuel prices, high interest rates coupled with economic slowdown in the Indian and global economy, there is certainly a lot of pressure on automobile companies.

"These companies are also working out a lot of ways to incentivise customers. But at the moment, the growth trend is not looking satisfactory," he said.

Also, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has revised its sales forecast for passenger cars this fiscal year to zero to one per cent as against an earlier forecast of 1-3 per cent.

To revive the sector, SIAM has suggested that the government reduce excise duty on cars other than small cars to 20 per cent and said the duty on 10-13 seater vehicles should be at par with buses at 10 per cent.

SIAM has asked the government to provide concessions on identified parts of hybrid/electric vehicles. Besides, the auto industry says high taxes on small cars and other vehicles are impacting the growth in the sector.

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