Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari assured the Retailers Association of India and Practicing Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association (India) that their request for registering as MSMEs will be examined expeditiously. He felt that this need to be explored from the point of these bodies being employment creators and whether various benefits such as insurance, medical, pension, etc can be provided to workers.
He also called upon the retailers to start exploring the option of home delivery and maintaining social distancing, availability of sanitizers for customers/employees and use of masks at all retail outlets.
The Minister was addressing meetings today via video conferencing with the representatives of Retailers Association of India and representatives of Practicing Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association (India) on the impact of COVID-19 on their respective sectors. During this interaction, the representatives expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by them amid COVID-19 pandemic along with few suggestions and requested support from the government to keep the sector afloat.
He also called upon the Engineers, Architects and Town planners to explore decongesting overcrowded cities and participate in the development of rural, tribal and backward regions especially along the Green Expressways like the new Delhi -Mumbai Expressway which is passing through such areas. He said various clusters and logistics parks will come upon this ambitious project offering huge opportunities.
Some of the major issues highlighted and the suggestions given included: registering retailers/restaurants/architectural firms as MSMEs, starting Malls with conditions of safety measures related to COVID-19, starting operations of e-Commerce companies for non-essential items, relief in rentals for retailers, an extension of moratorium to 9 months, reduction in the bank interest rate from 10% to 4-5%, adherence to RBI guidelines by private banks, applying GST on receivables only, registration of builders as MSME who are already registered under RERA Act, etc.
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.
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. Shri Gadkari also urged the industry to have a positive attitude during this time to tide over this crisis.
The Union Minister emphasized 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. Further, he mentioned that there is also need to focus on import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production.
He further mentioned that work on Green Express Highway has already started, and this is an opportunity for the industry to make future investments in industrial clusters, logistics parks equipped with state-of-art technology. He opined that there is a need to expand the horizon of industrial cluster in areas other than metro cities and urged industries for participation.
The Minister recalled that the Government of Japan has offered 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.
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 the industry should take a positive approach and tap the opportunities that will be created when the COVID-19 crisis gets over.