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New Delhi, May 13, 2020
Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has urged MSMEs in the agro, fishing and forest sectors to explore using locally available raw materials in the manufacturing process.
The Minister was addressing a meeting yesterday through video conferencing with the representatives of the Chamber of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India on the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs.
He also reiterated that the construction of new green express highways provide an opportunity for the industry to make future investments in industrial clusters and logistics parks equipped with state-of-art technology. He opined that there was need to work on decentralization of industries and focus on rural, tribal and backward areas of the country.
Stressing the need for special focus on export enhancement, he called for adopting necessary practices to reduce power cost, logistics cost and production cost to become competitive in the global market.
Import substitution was needed along with stepping up domestic production. The industry should focus more on innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology, research skill and experiences to convert the knowledge into wealth.
He called for ideas to develop an IT-based analysis system for rating of MSMEs to bring transparency along with result-oriented and time-bound processes. The best practices in the world should be studied in order to strengthen the MSME space in India. He emphasized on the importance of time in decision making while calculating the cost of the projects.
He emphasized on the usage of PPE (masks, sanitizer etc.) and advised to maintain social distancing norms in personal life and during business operations.
Gadkari said all the stakeholders must adopt an integrated approach to come over the crisis while ensuring the lives and livelihood of the people. He urged the industry to have a positive attitude during this time to tide over this crisis.
The Minister said the Japanese Government has offered a special package to its industries for taking out Japanese investments from China and move elsewhere. He said that it was an opportunity for India which should be grabbed.
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.
Some of the major issues highlighted and the suggestions given included: establishing a special tribunal for MSME cases, stopping the Sarfaesi Act for a year, plan to ensure adequate financing option and mechanism to track efficient utilization, plan to overcome the challenge of labour shortage due to the movement of migrant labourers, provision for MSMEs considering threat of cheap import, and release of delayed payments.
Restructuring of NPA accounts, removing the requirement of external credit rating and CIBIL score for bank loan, temporarily suspending option of making appeal against MSME if any court has given the decision in favour of the MSME were also suggested.
The Minister was also urged to look into supply chain issues for finished products, applying GST on receivables, arranging documentation (land use permission, fire department NOC etc.) for starting industries in rural areas, not taking margin money in the bank guarantee, plan for training on costing, best practices in MSME etc.
Gadkari responded to the questions from representatives and assured all possible help from the government. He said 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.