May 05: Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari today informed that a policy on import substitution is being thought of in the wake of the new economic situation created by COVID-19 pandemic. He called upon various stake-holders to convert knowledge into wealth by improving quality through innovations and cutting down costs. He cited the example of a Nagpur based MSME Orange cluster taking up PPE making from scratch. These PPEs cost between Rs 550 to Rs 650 against the market price of about Rs 1200 for which country was heavily import dependent. The cluster is in a position to supply a large number of PPEs.
Shri Gadkari was addressing the meetings via Video Conferencing with the representatives of the Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of India (ALEAP) on the impact of COVID-19 on the startup ecosystem and MSMEs and also with Technical Service Providers and Performing Artists from entertainment Sector. Among others who participated include renowned singers Shri Sonu Nigam, Shri Nitin Mikesh, Shri Talat Aziz.
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 a need to focus on 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.
Shri Gadkari also stressed the need for greater formalization of the entertainment industry. He suggested for registration as MSMEs to take benefit of various Schemes of the Ministry of MSME.
He added that all the stakeholders must adopt an integrated approach to come over the crisis while ensuring the livelihood of the people. Shri Gadkari also urged the industry to have a positive attitude during this time to tide over this crisis.
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.
During this interaction, the representatives expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by MSMEs in various sectors including in the entertainment industry, 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: No licensing fee for the transfer of technologies to SMEs, dissemination of schemes promoting livelihood for tribal areas, support to pharma sector SMEs in supply chain management and further extending 3 months moratorium given by RBI, extending a soft loan, deferring/reducing GST etc.
Shri Gadkari responded to the questions from representatives and assured all possible help from the government. He informed me 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.