Gadkari hints at further easing of Covid-19 lockdown in next 15 days

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari
Union minister Nitin Gadkari hinted at further easing of the ongoing lockdown within the next 15 days, in order to revive industrial activity as the country faces dire economic problems owing to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a WebEx with the Bharat Chamber of Commerce, Gadkari, union minister of road transport & highways and MSME, said, “In the coming 15 days, this phase will be reduced. By taking preventive measures, we can start moving towards our usual activities although in Delhi and Mumbai it could be difficult”.

Acknowledging the issues in the industry like a looming liquidity crunch as well as frozen income, the minister said, “By and large, we are moving towards how we can soon resume our normal life”.

Advising entrepreneurs to look into the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity for India to maximise exports and opt for import substitution, Gadkari said that the Centre has appointed a consultant which will study imports for the last five years and then recommend how exports from India can be increased and import-substitution achieved.

Paint companies like Berger Paints are looking at import substitution by procuring raw material including pigments and other necessary chemicals locally in wake of the pandemic after supplies from China were hit temporarily.

With the Covid-19 outbreak wreaking havoc on large cities like Mumbai and Delhi, which house industrial clusters, Gadkari said the need of the hour is to opt for decentralised industries. 

As a suggestion, the minister stated that extensive highway construction work is underway like the Delhi-Mumbai expressway which is cutting across several tribal and rural areas. MSMEs as well as industries can look at setting up industries in clusters along the highways. 

“We have to convert this problem into a potential opportunity and need to find the exact equilibrium where the interest of the banks, the industries and people at large, can be ensured”, he said.

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