New scheme on anvil for businesses helping government curb imports, suggests Nitin Gadkari

Trade, Imports, Exports for MSMEs: Companies engaged in manufacturing ‘import substitute products’ will now be encouraged by the government to grow their businesses and help the government save foreign exchange, according to MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari. The minister, speaking at an MSME Expo in Aurangabad, reported by PTI, said “there are many industries which are working on import substitute products and saving the nation’s money. The Central government is forming a scheme to encourage these industries.” India’s total imports stood at $38.1 billion in November 2019 vis-a-vis $37.4 billion in the preceding month. It peaked to $46.6 billion in May 2019 while the total imports dropped 12.7 per cent YoY in November 2019.

The government, on the other hand, has been pushing to boost exports from small businesses to 75 per cent share in total exports from the current nearly 50 per cent. Commerce minister Piyush Goyal had earlier this month directed SIDBI and the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) to set-up a framework to help process SME loans faster along with providing insurance cover to SME exporters. The minister had in December also pushed for more SME exports since the tariff concessions under the FTAs signed by India gives export opportunities for products including those from SMEs. Japan, South Korea and some ASEAN countries offer such concessions on SME products including readymade garments, leather goods, processed foods, and engineering products such as auto components.

In their budget suggestions, MSMEs requested the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to appoint a regulator for logistics including land, rail, air, shipping and ports to establish clear rules for the same, bring transparency to the process along with setting up a grievance redressal mechanism for exporters and importers. The suggestion was part of the presentation shared by the MSME body Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME).