“Hon’ble PM, Shri Narendra Modi, has touched upon three aspects to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, spiritual, motivational and analytical. He has boosted the sentiments of the people by announcing a Rs. 20 lakh crore package which is much more than was expected. However, we are eagerly awaiting the FM’s address to know the specifics of the package as to how the government is planning to raise the necessary resources, areas of spending and how long will it take for the package to be released,” says Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and President, All India Association of Industries (AIAI).

Being optimistic about the prospects of the Indian economy, Mr. Kalantri says, “I am very happy with the PM’s announcement and am glad that he spoke of “Be Indian and Buy Indian”. This will uplift the Indian MSME sector which is a major source of income and employment generation in the country. At a time, when the battered industry badly needed motivation to pull on, our Hon’ble PM has served it. He has made us feel proud of our achievements and has urged us to stay united.”

Mr. Kalantri opines the PM has rightly suggested that COVID-19 is an opportunity in crisis. Before its existence we were hardly manufacturing PPEs and N-95 masks, and now we are self-sufficient in it. However, we need to do away with the regressive laws relating to land, labour and employment, in order to attract foreign investment.

“Our Hon’ble PM stressed on the need for simplification of rules and regulations to create a conducive business environment. No doubt, it will encourage domestic and foreign investors to invest in India. However, we feel, the laws in regard with direct and indirect taxation, GST, employment and the Factories Act need to be simplified as they act as irritants in the way of work,” says Mr. Kalantri.

The economy has been severely hit in the last three months. There have been problems faced by migrant labourers, daily wage earners and MSMEs relating to survival issues. We hope the upcoming announcements ensure to give a thrust to the various sectors which are dying.

Talking of India’s potential in agri exports, Mr. Kalantri says, “There has been a huge demand for wheat and rice during the lockdown period, from abroad. The world is looking at India as its preferred import source compared to our neighbouring countries. However, NTBs are a major cause of rejection of our exported agro products. Social standards and environment compliances are very essential when screening agro-product consignments. We should, therefore, ensure that these are adequately met in order to raise our brand image.”

“In order to boost our exports, the NIRVIK scheme that has been announced in the Budget, that aims to provide guaranteed insurance cover up to 90 per cent of the principal and interest on pre, as well as, post-shipment credit, is the most desirable to be implemented at this point of time. Further, the government should enhance the role of private sector participants, such as fintech companies and trade receivable exchanges to enhance last-mile delivery of the credit offered by banks and ensure that the risks of non- payment that will be witnessed by MSMEs in the aftermath of this crisis are mitigated,” suggests Mr. Kalantri.

We need to ensure that innovative products, leveraging the use of technology, are promoted as these enhance the efficiencies of our MSMEs, while also improve targeting of our scarce financial resources.