“Don’t go looking for the source of a river” goes a saying in my mother tongue – Marathi. A BBC documentary does exactly that as it traces the source of river
Today low-cost car in
In November 1970, the Cabinet decided to manufacture a small car in public sector and discussions were held with foreign car makers, including Renault, Ford and Nissan. However, the estimate of Rs. 57 crore as initial investment turned out to be too much for the time. Instead private entrepreneurs wanting to manufacture a low-cost car were talked to. Eleven letters of intent were issued, one of those receiving the LoI was Sanjay Gandhi. Out of the 11 LoI, only three were converted into industrial licenses. Apart from Sanjay Gandhi, the other two went to Manubhai Thakkar of Vadodara and Sunrise Auto Industries of Bangalore, perhaps non-serious players by design.
Ever since his return from
It was an impossible proposition considering the need to manufacture and procure all the required components, including gearbox and engine, locally. Two things shifted the priorities away from the project: First, the national emergency which came into force in June 1975 and subsequently Janata Party came to power in Jan 1977. And second, the aircraft crash on 23 June 1980 that killed Sanjay Gandhi. Sanjay's unfinished dream acted as an emotional force for Indira Gandhi to push government to start a small car project called Maruti Udyog Limited incorporated on 24 Feb 1981. Was Sanjay's Maruti Motors the first low-cost car project in
In late 1950s government formed an Ad Hoc committee on the Automobile Industry under economist L. K. Jha to look into the possibility of manufacturing a low-cost passenger car. It was meant to cater to those whose monthly salary with below Rs. 1,000. The committee, dubbed the Cheap Car Committee, studied different models and collaborators and submitted a report in 1960 laying out the criteria that should decide the model. The committee received 24 proposals from various firms including Hindustan Aeronautics, Renault, Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles, Telco (now Tata Motors). However, the tenure of the committee was over before it could take any action.
Does it really matter where the source of an idea is? What matters a lot more is how much impact the idea eventually makes, just like river