New Delhi: Union Minister for MSME Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday that a policy on imports substitution is being thought of in the wake of the new economic situation created by COVID-19 pandemic. He called upon various stakeholders to convert knowledge into wealth by improving quality through innovations and cutting down cost. He cited the example of a Nagpur-based MSME orange cluster which took up PPE-making from scratch. "These PPEs cost between Rs 550 to Rs 650 against the market price of about Rs 1,200 for which India was heavily import dependent. The cluster is in a position to supply large quantity of PPEs," said Gadkari.
Gadkari was addressing meetings via video conferencing with the representatives of Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of India (ALEAP) on the impact of COVID-19 on startup eco system and MSMEs and also with Technical Service Providers.
The Union MSME 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.
Gadkari also stressed upon the need for greater formalisation of the entertainment industry. He suggested registration for businesses 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 overcome the crisis while ensuring livelihood of the people. 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 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 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 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 soft loan, deferring/reducing GST etc.