New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari has assured the industry of full cooperation from the government in restarting their enterprises after the lockdown is lifted post COVID-19.
Interacting with FICCI representatives on a web-based seminar on Tuesday, the minister informed them about the various financial decisions taken by the government in this direction. Gadkari informed that RBI has allowed rescheduling of term loans and working capital facilities.
Speaking about the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Gadkari said that Government is aware of their difficulties and realises their importance to the economy. He called upon industry sector to work in tandem with Government and the banking sector. He stressed that all sectors remaining strong is in the interest of each one of them. Talking about the importance of liquidity in the market, the Minister informed that he is striving to increase credit guarantee to MSMEs to Rs Five lakh crore from the present level of about Rs one lakh crore wherein 75per cent of the advances granted by financial institutions are guaranteed by the under the Credit Guarantee Scheme of the Govt. He assured that the issues raised by the industry especially by MSMEs will be taken up discussed with relevant Ministries and Departments.
Gadkari called upon the industry to look upon the present crisis as challenge and opportunity especially as some countries are looking to move away their investments from China, and India can be one of the best options for them.
Dwelling upon Road Sector, he said, the Highways construction which saw reaching record level in 2019-20, should increase pace by 2-3 times in coming years to meet growing needs of the infrastructure sector. The Minister also informed that time taken in reaching decisions should be kept at the minimum possible to avoid delays. In this direction, he has requested NHAI and its arbitration units to decide matters within 3 months. He said, for this purpose, he has requested all chairmen of such bodies to work till 7pm everyday instead of 5pm at present. The Minister said, they have already started to dodo, resulting in resolution of 280 matters within short time.
The Minister said that India should convert this crisis into an opportunity, accelerate infrastructure projects and win this war against corona to achieve economic growth. He said, Indian industry should look at the current situation as a blessing in disguise and aim towards improving its export potential. He added that bringing in Liquidity in the market is key at this time of crisis and to ensure that, NHAI has already started the process of settling all the pending claims and arbitration. The ministry had definitive plan to clear all legitimate claims more or less within 3 months.
Talking about the doubling the pace of road and highway construction for FY 20-21, Gadkari mentioned that his ministry is working on a war footing and is committed to fight this battle and emerge victorious. To kick start the path to recovery for Road sector, the ministry is open to re-start projects at various locations with the condition that adequate measures will be taken taken for safeguard against the spread of coronavirus.