Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways Mr. Nitin Gadkari held two meetings via video conferencing with the representatives of Business Network International and Motherland International Foundation on COVID-19: Impact and opportunities. Shri Gadkari has asked the industry to remain positive, visualize and changes for a better outcome in the present situation/crisis so that this adversity is converted into an opportunity.
He mentioned that all the stakeholders must adopt an integrated approach to come over the crisis while ensuring the lives and livelihood of the people. He stressed the need for cooperation, coordination and communication among stakeholders.
Shri Gadkari called upon the industry that it is 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 etc.) and advised to maintain social distancing norms during business operations.
The Union Minister emphasized that special focus towards export enhancement especially by import substitution is the need of the hour and necessary practices may be adopted to reduce power cost, logistics cost and production cost to become competitive in the global market.
Further, he mentioned that there is also a need to focus on import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production.
Shri Gadkari mentioned that industry should focus more on innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology, research skill and experiences to convert the knowledge into wealth. Further, he emphasized on decentralization of industries and exploring Agro MSME sector for manufacturing products using local raw material.
The Minister recalled that the Government of Japan has offered a special package to its industries for taking out Japanese investments from China and move elsewhere. He opined that it is an opportunity for India which should be grabbed.
During this interaction, the representatives expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by them and the society amid COVID-19 pandemic along with few suggestions and requested support from the government to keep the sector afloat.
Some of the major issues highlighted and the suggestions given included: Post-COVID plan for tourism, hospitality and food industry, the recommendation for MSEs (particularly women entrepreneurs) during COVID-19, plan for companies interested in investing in India, leadership behaviours MSME leaders need to exhibit in their business, the post-COVID scenario of construction and real estate and strategies to overcome challenges of a slow economy.
Shri Gadkari responded to the questions from representatives and assured all possible help from the government. He informed that he would take up the issues with related departments.
He emphasized that industry should take a positive approach and tap the opportunities that will be created when the COVID-19 crisis gets over.