Union Minister for MSME and RT&H, Nitin Gadkari has emphasised that there is also need to focus on import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production. He also urged enterprises to make use of technology and mentioned that Research, innovation and quality improvement can play a major role in industrial development. He was addressing meetings held today via video conferencing with the representatives of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), India SME Forum (ISF) and other enterprises from various sectors from Nagpur.
As the lockdown eases out and focus shifts to increasing economic activity, revival of the sector for large scale employment generation and leading the way for sustained economic growth becomes imminent.
Regarding revival of MSME sector, Minister mentioned that industry should lay a special focus towards export enhancement and necessary practices be adopted to reduce Power cost, Logistics cost and Production cost to become competitive in the global market.
Gadkari mentioned that while the Government has allowed certain industry sectors to start functioning, it also need to be ensured by Industries that necessary preventive measured 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.
The Minister also underlined that the special package offered by the Government of Japan to its industry for taking out Japanese investments from China and move elsewhere. He opined that this is an opportunity for India and which should be grabbed.
Gadkari 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 urged that such proposals be submitted to NHAI.
He also requested that all efforts should be made to make payments of MSMEs immediately and all Government Departments have been given such directions. Further, he assured all possible help from the government to tide over the challenges created by the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
During the meeting, the representatives expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by MSMEs amid COVID-19 pandemic made suggestions and requested support from the government to keep the MSME sector afloat.
Some of the issues pointed out by the representatives and the suggestions given included: extension of moratorium for at least six months, enhance working capital loan limit for MSMEs, waiver of charges on utility bills, inclusion of certain goods in the category of essential commodities including computer hardware sector, payment of salaries to workers during lockdown from ESI and Provident Fund reserves, make all expenditure incurred on education & health institutions at zero tax etc.
Gadkari assured that he would take up these issues with the Union Finance Minister and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Gadkari also said that the industry should work together and tap the opportunities that will be created when the COVID-19 crisis gets over.