Gadkari to industry: Use Covid crisis as an opportunity to tap foreign markets

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 15, 2020

‘Fund of funds’ for MSMEs awaits Cabinet nod

Faced with a deluge of demands from companies, many of whom represent micro, medium small scale enterprises, Road Transport Highways and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari requested the firms to understand that all stakeholders including the government have to survive in these challenging times.

“After the war against Covid-19, we will have to fight the economic war,” said Gadkari, adding that this can be an opportunity for companies in India as Japan and the US are encouraging sourcing from countries other than China.

The industry’s demands were related to clearing long pending payments from the government such as Income Tax, GST and public sector units and fiscal relaxations to deal with the lockdown.

The Centre, state governments and banks are also staring at a financial crisis in the wake of Covid-19, he added.

Companies are seeking waiver of fixed electricity charges so that they have to pay only for actual usage. They pointed out that some banks are debiting EMIs despite the Reserve Bank of India and the Finance Ministry directives on relaxations.

They also sought the government’s help in paying wages. Company representatives also urged the government to dip into the employees state insurance corporation (ESIC) fund for payment of wages. They are also seeking a moratorium on all statutory payments including employees and employers’ provident fund.

As industry players listed their woes and demands, Gadkari asked them to think of themselves as being part of the government.

Several MSME sector representatives also sought fiscal relaxations for a longer duration compared to those extended to bigger companies.

Fund of funds

Meanwhile, Gadkari added that the Cabinet is likely to consider setting up a ₹10,000-crore ‘fund of funds’ for MSMEs. The move will help MSMEs with good track record in the GST system and AAA ratings to raise funds from the stock market.

Gadkari asked the industry representatives to provide their workers with food, clothing, shelter and workplace with social distancing, when they resume work.

Published on April 15, 2020

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