Aatmanirbhar Bharat means 'increase exports, reduce imports', says MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari

In a virtual event ‘Business Enterprises of Tomorrow 2020’, the minister said that MSMEs can play a crucial role in boosting India’s exports through upgrades in technology among other things.

Union Minister for MSME Nitin Gadkari on Monday said the simple definition of creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat is the initiative to increase exports while reducing imports.

He added that MSMEs can play a crucial role in boosting India’s exports through upgradations in technology, reductions in cost of production, and improvements in packaging and presentation.

The Minister was speaking at the virtual event ‘Business Enterprises of Tomorrow 2020’, organised by commercial data, analytics, and insights company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

At the event, Gadkari launched two publications — ‘Leading SMEs of India 2020’ and ‘Leading Mid-Corporates of India 2020’ — as a tribute to SMEs and to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship.

'Leading SMEs of India 2020’ is a joint publication by D&B and American Express for recognising leading SMEs in India. The publication provides listings of around 7,500 SME businesses and profiles of 500 leading SMEs across sectors. 

On the other hand, ‘Leading Mid-Corporates of India 2020’, also a joint publication between D&B and American Express, provides listings of around 2,500 mid-corporate businesses and profiles of 500 leading mid-corporates across sectors.

At the launch, Gadkari recapped the MSME Ministry’s measures for small businesses, and said these schemes “have been doing well and are seeing very good response”.

The Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free loan scheme, the Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt for MSMEs, and the Rs 50,000 crore equity infusion through the Funds of Funds (FoF) were some recent schemes the Minister mentioned during his address. He added the new MSME definition is “revolutionary” and will benefit the sector at large.

Union Minister for MSME Nitin Gadkari

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the nation the mission of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and the role of MSMEs in this mission is very important. We are confident of winning the war against COVID-19 and growing the economy — of which MSMEs are the backbone,” Gadkari said.

“We will take more investments in India, especially for MSMEs. Right now there is a 100 percent FDI route in the defence sector. We want further investments and upgradations in technology. We will look to partner with the likes of IITs and IIM for technology upgradation," he added.

On what MSMEs can expect in terms of import substitution, Gadkari said sectors such as automobiles and agarbathis have already realised India doesn’t need imports from countries like China.

“Our talented and young manpower is a great strength. The work done by IITs, IIMs and research centres is great. Other countries are keen to deal with and collaborate with India, and this is advantageous as we look to increase exports and cut imports,” he said.

Over the last few months, Gadkari has been vocal about creating employment in the MSME sector. In September 2020, he said the government is aiming to create five crore additional jobs in the MSME sector in the next five years. The sector presently employs about 11 crore people. 

He also called for broad basing support for innovations and entrepreneurship so that new talent gets the chance to grow.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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