May 03: Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari today interacted via video conferencing with the representatives of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DICCI) on the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs owned by SC-ST entrepreneurs. During this interaction, the representatives of DICCI expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by SC-ST MSMEs amid COVID-19 pandemic along with few suggestions and requested support from the government to keep the sector afloat.
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 mentioned that there is a need to focus on export enhancement as well as import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production. He added that industry should focus more on innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology, research skill and experiences to convert the knowledge into wealth. He further said that to gain competitiveness in the international markets, the industry must focus on reducing logistic cost, capital cost, power and production cost without compromising with the quality.
The Minister recalled that the Government of Japan has offered special packages 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.
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 clusters in areas other than metro cities and urged industries for participation.
Some of the major issues highlighted by the DICCI and the suggestions given support SC-ST entrepreneurs included: a further extension of the moratorium, additional GST exemption, enhance working capital loan limit, easy access to credit, the inclusion of service sector in Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme, decentralization of industries etc.
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 mentioned said that all stakeholders must adopt an integrated approach to come over the crisis and urged the industry to have a positive attitude during this time to tide over this crisis.
Shri Nitin Gadkari had also addressed a webinar yesterday on e-unveiling of FLO Compendium of 100 Successful Women Entrepreneurs in MSME, organized by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) where issues about women entrepreneurs were discussed and their suggestions were noted.