5 major announcements made by Nitin Gadkari after taking charge as MSME Minister
Two months into Nitin Gadkari's tenure as MSME Minister, the BJP veteran has announced a series of measures which could go a long way in galvanising the MSME sector.Rishabh Mansur
After the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won the General Elections 2019, BJP veteran Nitin Gadkari took charge of the Ministry of Small, Micro, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). He also retained charge of the Ministry of Road Transports and Highways.
In early June 2019, just a few days after, Gadkari said he would work with full strength to increase job opportunities in the MSME sector.
This [MSME] portfolio is associated with the most important issue - the country's growth rate and employment potential. And it is the PM's expectation that employment should increase from this sector, which is very low now, and there should be creation of employment".
And over the next few weeks, Gadkari announced a series of measures for MSMEs which could go a long way in galvanising the sector.
Here are some of Gadkari's major announcements since he became the Union Minister for MSME:
50 percent GDP contribution from MSMEs
Gadkari has frequently said his mission is to raise the contribution of MSME sector to the country's GDP to 50 percent from the present 29 percent, and ensure that it give employment to at least 15 crore people against the 11.1 crore at present.
His first step is increasing the number of MSMEs in India on a sustainable basis through various schemes and programmes.
To do this, Gadkari said the ministry is providing better credit facility, technology upgradation, and skilling to boost the entire MSME ecosystem in India.
He also said that there is an urgent need to encourage research and innovation in the sector, collaborate with global entities to bring in the latest technology and best practices, and also promote marketing. For this, he has proposed creating a new website where people can post new ideas, suggestions, and innovations.
Ecommerce portal for MSMEs
Nitin Gadkari has also been talking about starting an ecommerce portal for MSMEs and the Khadi industry-one that is inspired by Alibaba from China and Amazon from the US.
Set to be launched in a month, the government portal is meant for selling products manufactured by small industries. Citing an example, he said that through this portal, even a beekeeper can sell his/her product to any part of the world.
Gadkari also expressed confidence that it will generate a turnover of Rs 10 lakh crore in two years after its launch.
“It will provide a good opportunity to the MSME sector which contributes significantly in job generation and promoting growth of the country,” Gadkari said.
"For this portal, we have also talked to GeM (Government e-Market place) and I have also discussed with Piyush Goyal (Commerce and Industry Minister)," Gadkari added.
Import-substitute policies and products
The minister has also publicly said that the MSME sector offers huge potential and the government is ready to come out with special policies to promote import-substitute products.
In this context, Gadkari said, "One of the most important things is that we have to raise the employment potential and it is my priority, both in rural and urban areas.”
"There are a lot of products in MSMEs. My suggestion is to identify import-substitute products and then, we can make special policies. This will reduce imports," he said.
This is in keeping with his announcement that the MSME Ministry will work alongside the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in looking at the possibility for MSMEs to locally manufacture goods which are currently being imported by India.
No ban on entry of corporates in MSME sector
Nitin Gadkari in June announced that the ban on entry of corporates and private players in the MSME sector has been lifted to pave way for the formation of 700 clusters in order to reduce dependence on imports as well as for job creation.
He also urged Indian industry to join hands in bringing innovative ways of financing, adding that there was no "trust deficit" between industry and the government, which has been constantly doing away with "red-tapism".
Additionally, the MSME Ministry is planning to set up enterprise facilitation centres across the country to make MSMEs more competitive and help them integrate with big enterprises.
These centres are planned to be set up at block levels, and will help disseminate information to micro and small enterprises and detect issues faced by them.
MSME employment scheme for SC/ST groups and tribes
In early July, Gadkari announced that a new scheme is being worked out to encourage employment generation by MSMEs in the country, with special focus on scheduled castes and tribes. He added that the "policy will come within a month."
The credit limits of World Bank and Asian Development Bank will be used to provide loans to SMEs, which would help provide employment opportunities to the poor.
"The government was evolving such a scheme that would lay emphasis on creating more employment opportunities, with special focus on scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Emphasis will also be laid on tribals and rural agriculture related activities," Gadkari said.