The government has decided to make a minimum of six airbags mandatory for cars even in economic models to enhance the safety of passengers, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari said.

"We have decided to make six airbags mandatory for cars. Some of the company people are constantly making opposition for that. We want to save the lives of the people and that is the reason we need cooperation from the stakeholders," Gadkari says, while addressing Intel's Safety Pioneers Conference in New Delhi.

There is higher domestic demand for star ratings cars, which are much safer, the minister says.

"Some of the companies are making same brand cars in India which are not up to the standard but they are making the same cars with international standards for the overseas market," Gadkari says.

"When India has got a lot of accident deaths, then why are these companies not taking this seriously?" he asks.

"In India, every year we have 5 lakh accidents and 1.5 lakh deaths and 3 lakh serious injuries. There are 400 accidental deaths per hour in the country. The socio-economic loss due to this is 3.14% of our GDP and 70% deaths are in the age group of 18-40 years," the Union minister says.

The government is looking to reduce road accident deaths by 50% by 2024. "We need to work on road engineering, automobile engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical services," he adds.

Gadkari attributed road accidents to faulty detailed project reports. "DPRs are of poor quality. The principle in DPR is that the lowest bid is the best bid. That is the problem with the DPRs. We need to use new technologies to prepare DPRs," Gadkari says.

On electric vehicles, Gadkari said that because of the competition, the quality and efficiency of EVs have improved.

Gadkari, who himself uses an electric car, says: "It is economically viable at least if you are spending ₹20,000 per month on the petrol car. Your electric bill will be ₹2,000 only."

On alternative fuel, the minister said that Indian Oil Corporation will make 1 lakh litres of ethanol per day and 150 tonnes of Bitumen per day from rice stubble, which will also help in reducing New Delhi's air pollution.

"The government is now looking at green hydrogen where 70% of the cost is power. I am trying my level best to make the cost up to $1 per kg and the average will be 120 kilometres per kg," Gadkari says, adding that it'll be a miraculous thing for India.

The government is looking to more than double the size of the Indian automobile industry to ₹15 lakh crore from the current ₹6.5 lakh crore by the end of 2025.

"Automobile industry is one of the important industries having a turnover ₹6.5 lakh crore. Out of this ₹3 lakh crore is exports. Bajaj Auto, TVS and Hero are exporting 50 percent of their capacity. This industry employs 4.5 crore young talented youth of this country," the minister adds.

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