Allow manufacturers to resume operation in areas not classified as COVID access point: MSME mininstry

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) has suggested to the government that it allow manufacturers to resume operations in areas that are not classified as Covid-19 access points. However, this will be subject to manufacturers strictly following the rules of disinfection and social distancing.

The sources said that even an empowered group of secretaries has suggested that industrial production should be allowed to resume in areas located in green and amber zones. He has suggested that normal logistics supply can only occur when there is production of essential products and others as well.

Speaking to a group of reporters via video conference from his residence in Nagpur, the highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari said on Saturday that recovering migrant workers who have left cities and urban centers is the key to resuming the operation of small and medium industrial units.

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> He added that thousands of workers leaving cities is a serious concern. Gadkari said it would be up to state governments and local administration to develop a framework to encourage them to return to work.

The minister noted that both the government and factory owners would have to take confidence-building measures to motivate them to return.

During their review meeting with NHAI and highway ministry officials on Wednesday, NHAI officials said there were still a large number of workers in the camp at the job sites. The works can start quickly in these places. Some of the contractors are also willing to incentivize workers, ”said an NHAI official.

Speaking to journalists, Gadkari quoted media reports that about 20 lakh of migrant workers living in shelters and relief camps, while some have returned home, are caught in the middle.

For the revival of the post-MSM sector blockade, the minister said his ministry is preparing plans that include encouraging craft in the villages and providing funds for the village-based industries.

Under the Sfurti scheme, around 400 groups have been identified and there will be financial assistance.

On life after COVID-19, Gadkari said: We have learned many things from this crisis. We must manufacture more of those items that we need here and also build an export market. We can replace other countries that are the main exporters of those items.

He cited that the new policy to increase the production of active ingredients (APIs) and medical devices will help the country to reduce dependence on China and India may emerge as a major exporter in the coming years.