In a major drive towards a self-reliant India or Atmanirhar Bharat, Nitin Gadkari the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSME urged the industry to identify sectors heavily reliant on imports and look for substitutes towards indigenous production to make India a superpower.
“CII should identify sectors to boost exports and reduce imports. In some areas, we will have to increase import duty to encourage Indian manufacturers,” Gadkari said at the CII event ‘India@75 Summit – Mission 2022’. He urged the industry to look beyond metropolises and developed cities to lay a network of industries and ventures in rural, far-flung and tribal areas which never grabbed attention. “It pains me that 90% of the focus of industry bodies is on major industries in big cities and metropolises. There is seldom any focus on rural, tribal and remote areas. There is a need to change it. Advance sector-wise, planning is the need of the hour to make India a superpower.”
As a comparison, the MSME minister pointed out that rival, China’s 70% of exports are from 10 sectors. Gadkari said that apart from machinery and equipment, furniture and related things accounted for exports worth US$100 billion, plastic products US$84 billion, vehicles US$74 billion, and clothing US$66 billion. “The Indian industry needs to study this,” he said. “We need to figure out what all from this is being imported into India. If we have to aim for a self-reliant India, we need to enable our MSMEs to import substitute, pollution-free, cost-effective and indigenous products.”
Also Read: Nitin Gadkari backs exports led MSME recovery as Amazon enables 60,000+ sell ‘Made in India’ products
To take India and the MSMEs to a whole new playing field, Gadkari feels big industries and chambers need to take the initiative to study and come up with a plan on which all sectors in India should intensively focus on, and plan to fine-tune capabilities and expand enough to become an alternative to China for global exports.
The minister said the government is also working on a scheme for the inclusion of smallest units under the MSME ambit and providing for their micro-financial requirements.