Popular Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, Chief Minister of Haryana Shri Manohar Lal ji, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Krishna Chautala ji, my colleague in Parliament Shri C.R. Patil, senior functionaries of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Ambassador of Japan to India, senior officers of Maruti-Suzuki, all other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen!
At the outset, I would like to congratulate Suzuki and everyone associated with the Suzuki family.
Suzuki's family relationship with India and the people of India is now 40 years old. Today, while the foundation stone of an ambitious plant for the production of electric vehicle batteries is being laid in Gujarat, a new car manufacturing facility is also being started in Haryana.
I believe this expansion will form the basis of great future potential for Suzuki. I also extend my heartiest congratulations to Suzuki Motors and to all the members of this vast family. In particular, I would also like to congratulate Mr. Osamu Suzuki and Mr. Toshihiro Suzuki. Whenever you meet me, you present a new vision of Suzuki in India. I met Mr. Osamu Suzuki in May this year and he requested me to attend the 40 years function of Suzuki in India. It is a pleasure for me to witness such futuristic initiatives.
The success of Maruti-Suzuki also signifies the strong India-Japan partnership. In the last eight years, the relations between our two countries have reached new heights. Today, so many development projects are examples of Indo-Japan friendship from the bullet train in Gujarat-Maharashtra to the Rudraksh Center in Banaras in Uttar Pradesh. And when it comes to this friendship, every Indian remembers our friend, the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The people of Gujarat fondly remember Shinzo Abe when he came to Gujarat. Today Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida is taking forward the efforts of Shinzo Abe to bring our countries closer. We also heard the video message of Prime Minister Kishida just now. I also greet Prime Minister Kishida and all the citizens of Japan on behalf of India.
I also take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to the people of Gujarat and Haryana, who are continuously giving impetus to the country's industrial development and 'Make in India'. The developmental and industrial-oriented policies of the governments of both these states and efforts towards 'ease of doing business' are benefiting crores of people of the states and especially the youth.
In this special event, I am reminded of something very old and which is natural. I remember when Suzuki company came to Gujarat to build its manufacturing unit about 13 years ago. At that time, I said - 'As our Maruti friends drink the water of Gujarat, they will get to know where the perfect model of development' is. Today, I am happy that Gujarat fulfilled its promise to Suzuki and Suzuki also honored the commitment of Gujarat. Today Gujarat has emerged as the top automotive manufacturing hub not only in the country but all over the world.
Today's occasion is such that the more I discuss the intimate relationship between Gujarat and Japan, the less it will be. The relationship between Gujarat and Japan has been beyond diplomatic circles.
I remember when the Vibrant Gujarat Summit began in 2009, Japan has always been associated with it as a partner country. And it means a lot when there is a state on one side and a developed country on the other and both are supporting each other. Even today, Japan has the highest participation in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
During my tenure as Chief Minister, I used to often say one thing – ‘I want to create a Mini-Japan in Gujarat’. The idea behind this was that our guests of Japan should have a feeling of Japan in Gujarat. We made efforts so that the people and the companies of Japan should not face any kind of problem here.
You can imagine how much attention we used to pay to the little things. Many would probably be surprised to know that the people of Japan can’t live without playing golf. You can't imagine the Japanese without golf. Now we had nothing to do with the world of golf in Gujarat. So if I want to bring Japan here then I should also start developing golf courses here. I am happy that today there are many golf fields in Gujarat, where our Japanese people who are working here get an opportunity to spend their weekend. There are also many restaurants which specialise Japanese cuisine. We also took care of Japanese food.
Many Gujaratis also learned Japanese language so that their friends from Japan do not face any problem and these days there are many Japanese language classes going on in Gujarat.
There has always been seriousness in our efforts and affection for Japan. As a result, more than 125 Japanese companies, including Suzuki, are working in Gujarat. Japanese companies are expanding here from automobiles to bio-fuel. The Ahmedabad Business Support Center established by JETRO has the facility to provide plug and play work-space facilities to many companies simultaneously. Today, there are two Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing in Gujarat which are training hundreds of youth every year.
Many Japanese companies also have tie-ups with technical universities and ITIs of Gujarat. Gujarat can never forget the valuable contribution of Hyogo International Association in the establishment of Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy in Ahmedabad. Now an effort is being made to develop such an eco-friendly garden near the Statue of Unity. Gujarat benefited a lot after it made serious efforts in setting up Kaizen 18-19 years ago. Kaizen certainly has an important role to play behind the development successes of Gujarat.
When I moved to Delhi as Prime Minister, I implemented Kaizen's experiences in the PMO and other departments of the Central Government as well. Now the country is getting more benefits due to Kaizen. We have also made a special arrangement of Japan-Plus in the government. Many old friends from Japan who made this shared journey of Gujarat and Japan memorable are present today in this program. Once again, I congratulate all of you.
Nobody could imagine till a few years ago the way the electric vehicle market in India is growing today. One of the great features of electric vehicles is that they are silent. Be it two or four-wheelers, they don't make any noise. This silence is not only about its engineering, but it is also the beginning of a silent revolution in the country. Today people are not considering EV as an extra vehicle, but as a major means.
The country was also preparing the ground for this change for the last eight years. Today, we are increasingly working on both supply and demand in the electric vehicle ecosystem. The government is giving various incentives to the buyers of electric vehicles, so that the demand increases. From income tax exemption to easy loans, several steps have been taken to increase the demand for electric vehicles.
Similarly, rapid efforts are underway to increase the supply through the PLI scheme in automobiles and auto components. The government has taken several steps to accelerate the entire ecosystem of electric vehicles. Battery manufacturing units are also getting a lot of boost through the PLI scheme.
The country has also taken several policy decisions to prepare the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Battery swapping policy has been introduced in the 2022 budget. There has been a new beginning on policies like technology sharing. The EV sector is set to move forward with the strength of supply, demand and ecosystem. That is, this silent revolution is ready to make a big change in the near future.
Today, when we talk about issues like EV, it is very important for us to keep our country's climate commitment and its targets in mind. India has announced in COP-26 that it will achieve 50 percent of its installed electrical capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. We have set a target of 'Net Zero' for 2070. For this, we are preparing to include EV Charging Infrastructure and Grid Scale Battery Systems such as Energy Storage Systems in the harmonized list of infrastructure. At the same time, we also have to move towards alternatives like bio-gas and flex fuel.
I am glad that Maruti-Suzuki is also working on various options like Bio-fuel, ethanol blending and Hybrid EV. I suggest that Suzuki can also start projects related to possibilities like Compressed Bio-methane Gas i.e., CBG. Other companies in India are also doing a lot of work in this direction. I would like to have a healthy competition as well as a better environment for mutual learning. This will benefit both the country and the business.
We aim to make India self-reliant for its energy needs in the next 25 years. We know that a large proportion of energy imports today is related to transport. Therefore, innovation and efforts in this direction should be our priority.
I am sure the country will definitely fulfill this goal with your cooperation and all the colleagues of the auto sector. We will reach the goal of growth and prosperity at the same pace which is evident in our expressways today.
With this spirit, I thank all of you very much and convey my heartfelt wishes to the Suzuki family. I also assure you that the state or the central government will not lag behind anywhere in giving impetus to your dreams of expansion.
Thanks a lot!