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"Paisa kisi ka bhi ho, paseena mere desh ka lagna chahiye" says PM Modi on Elon Musk's India plans

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly believes that investment from across the globe is welcome but the products should have the essence of the country's soil and its citizens should be engaged in the manufacturing process.

PM Modi, in an interview with ANI ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, asserted that whoever wishes to invest in India can do so, but it must be produced by Indians so that youth can get employment opportunities.

"I want investment to come in India because in India, it doesn't matter who has invested money, (but) the sweat put into the work must be of our own people. The product should have the essence of our soil, so that our youth in the country will get employment opportunities," PM Modi said, to a question on Elon Musk's Tesla and Starlink's possible entry into India.

During the interview, the Prime Minister was asked about Elon Musk publicly saying that the latter was a fan of Modi.

To that, PM Modi responded by saying that Musk is a supporter of India.

"Look, the first thing saying that Elon Musk is supporter of Modi is one thing, basically, he is a supporter of India. And I just met him. It's not like that," he said.

PM Modi also recalled about his visit to Musk's factory back in 2015. The Prime Minister said Musk cancelled his pre-scheduled commitment and met him.

"He showed me everything in his factory. And I understood his vision from him. I went there just now (to the US in 2023) and met him again. And now he is about to come to India," PM Modi said.

Elon Musk is set to meet PM Narendra Modi in India later this month, as per a post on X by the Tesla chief. It is widely expected Musk may unveil big-ticket investment plan in India. However, the final agenda for Musk's trip to India is yet to be confirmed.

Earlier this month Musk had said that India, like every other country, should have electric car and it will be a natural progression for his company to provide Tesla electric vehicles in India.

"India is now the most populous country in the world, based on population. India should have electric cars just like every other country has electric cars. It's a natural progression to provide Tesla electric vehicles in India," Musk had said in a X Spaces session with Nicolai Tangen, the Chief Executive Officer at Norges Bank Investment Management.

In his interview with ANI, PM Modi said that India has committed to the world that the country is moving very fast on electric vehicle domain and companies must come and invest here.

Outlining the growth in India's EV sector, PM Modi gave a gist how sales in electric vehicles rose from just 2,000 in 2014-15 to 12 lakh in 2023-24.

"Not 2,000 units, but 12 lakhs units were sold in 2023-24. This means a network of such a big charging station has been created. It has helped the environment and we have made policies regarding this," the Prime Minister said.

"We have told the world that India is moving very fast on EVs. If you want to do manufacturing, you should come," he added.

This surge in EV sales can be attributed to factors like, government incentive schemes like PLIs, infrastructure development including EV charging points, increasing consumer interest, and government push to meet green target.

Not just EVs, PM Modi also touched upon how global companies such as Google, Apple and Samsung are making investments in India.

The Prime Minister noted that India is now virtually present in every field and the country wants people to transfer technology with it. "We want people to transfer technology," he said.

Making a strong case in connection to his government's flagship 'Make in India' initiative, he said he does not agree that India's wheat should be exported and later buying the end-product bread from abroad for its consumption.

"We want people to invest in capital. We want the youth of our country to get employment. I do not agree with this that my country's wheat should be exported and we should buy bread from abroad. I will not do that. Whatever I do, I will do it in my country. I will do it for the benefit of my country. And I also make policies for this. I make it with courage. And people are trusting me," he explained.

The Tesla Chief's visit to India seemed to have been fast-tracked in the wake of India's new EV policy, where various incentives are proposed for setting up manufacturing units in India.

The new EV policy has asked for a minimum investment threshold of Rs 4150 crore (USD 500 million) and encouraging manufacturers to achieve significant levels of domestic value addition (DVA), the government mandates that by the third year of setting up the manufacturing unit, at least 25 per cent of the parts used to make the vehicles should be sourced domestically. This localization level is expected to increase to 50 per cent by the fifth year of operation.

Under the new EV policy, for vehicles valued at USD 35,000 or more, a 15 per cent customs duty will be imposed for five years if the manufacturer builds manufacturing facilities in India within three years.

The total number of EVs allowed for import under the policy will be limited based on the investment made, or of a maximum value of Rs 6484 crore, whichever is lower. If the investment exceeds USD 800 million, a maximum of 40,000 EVs can be imported, with no more than 8,000 per year. Unused import limits can be carried over.

It was reported that Tesla has intensified its efforts to bolster its presence in the Indian market and is actively scouting for a suitable location to set up a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant.

The governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat have extended lucrative land offers to Tesla for the establishment of an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant, signaling a major stride in India's electric mobility landscape. 

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