Rs 1 lakh crore Revolving Fund mooted by MSME Min to ease industry pain: NitinGadkari at ASSOCHAM webinar

Friday, April 24, 2020

New Delhi, 24th April 2020
: The government would be examining a proposal for setting up a Revolving Fund of Rs one lakh crore for injecting the much-needed liquidity into small businesses by banks on credit guarantee in the face of Covid-19 crisis, MSME and Road Transport & Highways Minister Mr NitinGadkari said today at an ASSOCHAM webinar.
 
Addressing the webinar, steered by top ASSOCHAM leadership and attended online by over 1500 members, Mr Gadkari also said that he has also mooted a proposal to the Labour Minister, Mr Santosh Gangwar  to make use of Rs 80,000 crore lying with the ESIC , to tide over the immediate crisis faced by the MSMEs, as the pressure for April salaries and wages is mounting. The proposal will have to be examined by the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), he said.
 
Mr Gadkari who also holds the key portfolio of Road Transport and Highways, said all national  highways have been re-opened. '' We have informed state governments and collectors that we have opened up all national highways and till yesterday about 55-60 per cent transport movement had started. I hope we would soon be able to normalise it.'' He would be talking to the state transport and public works ministers to ascertain if there are any specific issues being faced with regard to road transport, even as ports have also been opened up with  essential workmen at the JNPT, Mumbai. 
 
On concerns raised by ASSOCHAM President Dr Niranjan Hiranandani and Senior Vice President Mr VineetAgarwal on severe liquidity crunch, Mr Gadkari said, his proposals on the Revolving Fund and usage of the ESIC corpus  would be sent soon to the Finance Ministry.
 
''I have prepared a scheme and I am sending it to Finance Ministry. We have decided to set up a fund of Rs one lakh crore and we will insure it and its insurance will be paid by government. We will fix a formula among (the stakeholders) and provide minimum Rs one lakh crore and the interest on the same''. He said the  Government of India would provide gurantee for the Fund which would be mobile and keep revolving.
 
ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr Deepak Sood,who moderated the webinar, said it is gratifying to know that the government is seriously pursuing  the proposal ,submitted by the chamber , for setting up a Rs one lakh crore fund for injection of liquidity into small businesses.   
 
Mr Gadkari discussed at length different issues, including the plan for lifting lockdown and some of the peculiar problems of micro units and artisans,silk weavers and small contractors engaged in the road construction. 
 
On the re-opening of the industry, he said  lockdown of trade and industry  is not an option. It would give way to new challenges. ''Thus, the Government of India is trying to implement the guidelines with your support. The labourers, factory workers should be provided transport facility in a manner that social distancing is taken care of, along with all other guidelines. The government is constantly working towards regularising the business operations in non-containment zones. Labourers should be provided food and shelter through temporary arrangements by providing space in factory premises. We need to take all precautionary measures to ensure coronavirus doesn't spread and then we can start factories''.
 
Mr Gadkari said he would be suggesting to the Finance Minister to fast track the GST and Income Tax refunds and  clear the same within eight days.
 
He shared his disappointment over the delays and backlog of cases with the National Company Law Tribunals. " The NCLTs are being other courts. ''.
 
He said the NHAI would be speeding up and catalysing investment into the road sector. A proposal is being mooted to plan industrial clusters along the new Delhi-Mumbai Expressway under implementation. ''We have moved a proposal for Cabinet that we will acquire land on the sides of the highway. I am telling all our leather clusters that land and labour costs are cheap, we will provide railway, port and power connectivity. We can also bring the companies moving out of China and bring them to India and settle them in this corridor''.
 
    
About ASSOCHAM:
ASSOCHAM initiated its endeavour of value creation for Indian industry in 1920. It was established by promoter Chambers, representing all regions of India. Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations, and serving over 4.5 lakh members across India. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of Knowledge for Indian industry, which is all set to redefine the dynamics of growth and development in the Knowledge Based Economy. More information available on www.assocham.org
 
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