Coronavirus Crisis: Nitin Gadkari Expects MSMEs To Bounce Back In 1-1.5 Months
Nitin Gadkari, India’s minister of shipping, road transport and highway water resources, is displayed on a television camera viewfinder during the Bloomberg India Economic Forum in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Coronavirus Crisis: Nitin Gadkari Expects MSMEs To Bounce Back In 1-1.5 Months

It’s true that India’s small and medium enterprises need immediate attention and a helping hand out of the crisis brought about by the coronavirus lockdown. It’s also true that the crisis may be a "blessing in disguise" for the sector.

That’s according to Nitin Gadkari, India’s Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, who also heads the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He expects the sector to bounce back in 1-1.5 months.

“We’re working on a plan where exports will rise, imports will fall and growth potential increases with employment,” Gadkari said in an interview to The Quint. “For this, we’re focusing on job creation in agriculture, tribal and rural sectors. We’re also working on new technologies and plans.”

When asked about monetary support and the lack of liquidity and daily income for large parts of the MSME universe, the minister assured that the government is coming up with a number of schemes to promote their growth. “We have already ensured a Rs 1 lakh crore fund. We have guaranteed 75 percent in bank loans for MSMEs and they have to show collateral for about 25 percent of the loans,” he said, adding that the government is paying Rs 15,000 crore in premiums for this every year.

Gadkari said that he recently met with banks to look at district-wise data on loans to SMEs along with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “We’ve also permitted NBFCs and cooperative banks to lend to the sector.”

When asked about a possible extension of the lockdown that’s slated to end on April 14, the minister said the government is hopeful of controlling the coronvairus pandemic in 8-10 days. As for the increasing numbers, he said the government will have to identify hotspots like Mumbai and Pune, and resume economic activity in districts with just a few cases, but with safety precautions.

WATCH | Nitin Gadkari On Coronavirus Impact On MSMEs In India

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