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"Think About India, Not Just About Urban India"
Jul 16, 2020

“CII and the industry should provide policy suggestions to the Government of India on import alternatives, strengthening financial institutions and ease of doing business.” said Mr Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of MSME and Road Transport & Highway, speaking at the Ministerial Plenary of the CII Digital Conference on Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Opportunities in Renewable Manufacturing on 16 July 2020. He encouraged a strong rural MSME, development to generate jobs, provide live and livelihood and solve the problem of urban congestion.

The MSME sector in India has contributed to nearly 30 per cent of GDP, 48-50 percent of exports and is the fountainhead for almost 11 crore jobs. With the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s strident call for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the MSME sector has to be supported and developed to promote indigenous sector that is the harbinger of more export-oriented sectors – renewable energy certainly being one of them.

Mr Gadkari, took note of the many challenges that the economy faces at this time with COVID19 descending upon the world. The Government acting as the facilitator is positive and supportive but requires policy suggestions from CII and the industry to make use of the situation and understand where India can strengthen its manufacturing and export value chain.

Liquidity and creation of more demand are the most important challenges that India sees. Cost of capital need to be reduced for which financial institutions need to be strengthened. He lent his support to LNG as the cleaner alternative to diesel. “LNG is the future. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways fosters setting up of LNG stations on the highways. The capital cost is high, but we should get the ROI within two years.”

He also spoke of reduction of transportation and logistics costs through ease of transportation - access-controlled highways to reduce time of transportation and industrial clusters to reduce logistic costs. The government’s prerogative would be to plan and support logistic parks beyond metro cities. This would reduce cost as well as reduce the problem of pollution that continues to choke India’s metro cities. The GOI will continue to encourage PPP in roads, highways and development of a world-class transportation sector.

He said that MSMEs need to be able to compete in a fair and equal environment. They will be supported through technology upgradation. INR 50000 cr, according to him, has been set aside for MSMEs to raise capital from the market. Government is working to create an independent rating system for the MSMEs. By virtue of this, the good MSMEs can also get secure foreign funding. “India is a secure destination provided we have secure projects,” Mr Gadkari commented.

In terms of imports, he sought the industry’s support in understanding how duties can be revised and levied on a case to case basis to curb imports to support the local industry and also look at identifying viable projects.

The Ministerial Plenary 2 of the Conference was moderated by Mr T V Narendran, President Designate, Confederation of Indian Industry & CEO & Managing Director, Tata Steel.

16 July 2020

New Delhi

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