Identified sectors with huge potential to cut import dependence, boost exports: Goyal

The minister added that COVID-19 pandemic has taught a big lesson that over-dependence on certain geographies can cause a lot of difficulties in the time of stress.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said certain sectors have been identified where there is a huge potential for India to cut its import dependence, boost exports, and promote domestic manufacturing.

He said that on 12 sectors — food processing; organic farming; iron; aluminium and copper; agrochemicals; electronics; industrial machinery; furniture; leather and shoes; auto parts; textiles; and coveralls, masks, sanitisers, and ventilators — work have been moving at a faster pace.

The Minister added that COVID-19 pandemic has taught a big lesson that over-dependence on certain geographies can cause a lot of difficulties in the time of stress.

"In our own ways, we have identified sectors where import substitution or export potential is there in a big way and I am sure that we can all work together to make this happen...We are looking at more sectors and I would urge all of you to look at new sectors where we can really promote Indian manufacturing," Goyal said while addressing the annual general meeting of Bombay Chamber of Commerce.

He also said certain statistics and indicators are reflecting that India's economy is reviving.

Citing some examples, he said freight movement in railways, power consumption, operations in the cement industry, and export numbers are "clearly demonstrating that we are moving very rapidly towards a reasonable level of operation".

However, he added that certain sectors like tourism, hospitality, aviation, and public transport will remain a challenge for some more time.

"I am very much seized of the fact that we will have to look at the plug and play infrastructure, we will have to look at genuine single-window clearance, we will have to make it affordable finance available to businesses, we will have to look at long term finance being available to businesses for infrastructure and manufacturing," he said.

Later speaking at MINDMINENXT event, Goyal said that the government is willing to talk to anybody in the world through missions at his level on India's interest for sectors of industry as a whole.

Goyal mentioned that an issue of a domestic company facing any kind of discrimination in other countries can be taken up.

"...But we are not, and you will appreciate it for the right reasons, we are not out there to tell you that you must do a deal with Sunil Munjal, or I am here to promote a product of Mr 'X' or company 'Y'.

"I mean in that part, India can be badly misunderstood. But I take (industry chamber) CII with me, I am happy to take the entire industry, all stakeholders, and pitch for India, Indian products, Indian industry. Individual companies unless its a problem of discrimination against an Indian company, which the government is happy to take up at any level," he said.

The Minister was replying to a question of Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise, that the government has been hesitant to represent businesses of India. and that has been a legacy issue.

"Are we now willing to go and say give orders to this and this company, this sector of India is very good, very strong and come and invest in this and this company and we can also get you partners," Munjal asked the Minister.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta