Bikky Khosla | 05 May, 2020
Coronavirus lockdown has been further extended, but the Centre this
time introduced several relaxations. The decision came at a time when
the country’s total number of COVID-19 cases has climbed over 42,500,
but with lakhs of poor people already suffering a lot, it seems the
government is now trying hard to find the right balance between lives and
livelihoods. The industry has also breathed a sigh of relief, as select
industrial activities are allowed now, albeit with riders.
another positive development, the Union Commerce Minister last week --
through video conferencing -- held discussions with several export
associations, and discussed the key challenges facing the sector.
Additionally, he also revealed that the Ministry is working on
identifying the specific sectors which can be taken forward in the
immediate future for exports purpose. The sector is facing, besides the
current challenges, a gloomy prospect, and a roadmap for its future
recovery is really imperative.
Also, according to media reports, Prime
Minister Modi has held a series of meetings with key ministers to
finalise a second economic package targeted at sectors most affected by
the lockdown. It is widely expected that the Centre would come up with a
focused plan for MSMEs, particularly with a dedicated fund to provide
interest free loans and capital support in line with recommendations of
the Finance Ministry. The reports add that the fund would be of
considerable size to support a large number of entities.
In yet another welcome development, the MSME ministry
is working on bringing out an Agro MSME Policy. The objective is to
focus on entrepreneurship development in rural, tribal, agricultural and
forest areas. It is encouraging. Meanwhile in the US – as we discussed
here last week - the Trump administration expressed its strong intention
to move away from the country’s dependency on the China-based supply
chain and work closely with countries like Australia, Japan, South Korea
and, last but not the least, India.I invite your opinions.