Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday took stock of the measures taken for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and discussed the future course of action, amid the coronavirus pandemic which has dealt a “huge blow” to the sector. “In a structured discussion of over two-and-a-half hours, the minister took stock of the steps taken in the background of the pandemic that has dealt a huge blow on the sector,” an official statement said.
The measures announced by the Ministry of Finance and the RBI so far were also discussed in the meeting held via video conferencing along with the action taken by Ministry of MSME to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the MSME sector.
The minister stated that the country needs to brace for a dual war, one against COVID-19 and the other on the economy front. While praising the efforts made by the officers and field formations of the ministry, he emphasised that all prescribed precautions on sanitisation, social distancing and PPE have to be invariably followed. He mentioned that due to COVID-19, the demand of medical items like ventilators, PPE kits, masks and sanitisers have increased suddenly over last one month and MSMEs are playing an important role in filling the gap by increasing the production of these items. He said MSMEs engaged in these activities should be facilitated on priority.
Gadkari noted that the ministry could register highest ever utilisation of funds in absolute terms during 2019-20 under various schemes of the ministry. It was reported on behalf of the MSME Technology Centres (TCs) that they were engaged in the manufacturing of sanitisers, masks, gowns, face shields and hospital furniture.
The TCs affirmed their commitment for ramping up their inhouse manufacturing and also assisting the MSMEs in the manufacture of these items. The minister stressed that this has to be done very quickly because of the bulk requirements of these items.
He desired that the TCs should collaborate with experts and agencies with proven and approved technology for manufacture of ventilators and corona testing kits and get into mass production in compliance with the medical standards. Gadakri also urged the officials to go all out for the assistance for MSMEs by revising and upscaling the schemes after proper third party independent evaluation. He urged his officers to get in touch with all stakeholders for a coordinated relief for MSMEs.