Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari interacted via video conferencing with the representatives of Bharat Chamber of Commerce, enterprises from various sectors, media and other stakeholders on “Post COVID -19: Challenges and New Opportunities in India”. During the interaction, the representatives expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by MSMEs amid COVID-19 pandemic along with few suggestions and requested support from the government to keep the MSME sector afloat.
Shri Gadkari called upon the industry that while the government has allowed certain industry sectors to start functioning, it is also needed to be ensured by industries that necessary preventive measures are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He emphasized on usage of PPE (masks, sanitizer, gloves etc) and advised to maintain social distancing while resuming the offices/business operations. Industries should also arrange shelter and food for the laborer at the work site and focus on preventive measures and business activities simultaneously.
He further mentioned that the highways and ports have started functioning and over the period of time the operations will be on track. Regarding revival of MSME sector, the Minister said that special focus towards export enhancement is the need of the hour and necessary practices shall be adopted to reduce power cost, logistics cost and production cost to become competitive in the global market.
He stressed that there is also need to focus on import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production. He urged enterprises to make use of technology and mentioned that research, innovation and quality improvement can play a major role in industrial development.
The Minister also stated that Government of Japan has offered a special package to their industry for taking out their investments from China and move elsewhere. He opined that this is an opportunity for India and should be grabbed.
It was also stated that work on Delhi – Mumbai Express Way has already started, and this is an opportunity for industry to make future investments in industrial clusters, industrial parks, smart villages and smart cities (nearby to smart villages) with focus on decentralization approach in rural and tribal areas and urged that such proposals be submitted to NHAI. Some of the issues pointed out by the representatives and the suggestions given include, prioritizing launch of interest subvention scheme, finalizing definition of MSMEs, enhance working capital loan limit for MSMEs, opening the markets along with starting operations of the industries, effective implementation of RBI guideline related to providing additional liquidity to industries, exploring the option to utilize the corpus fund of ESI, etc.
Shri Gadkari responded to the questions from representatives and requested for sending suggestions and assured all the help from the government. He informed that he would take up the issues with related departments/stakeholders to devise solutions at the earliest. Mr. Gadkari emphasized that all the related stakeholders should work together and tap the opportunities that will be created when the COVID-19 crisis gets over.