Current crisis is an opportunity to reorient businesses, relook efficiency, and look at the way we do business: Piyush Goyal

New Delhi: Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce and Industry, Government of India addressed the FICCI National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday. The Minister appreciated the efforts of business leaders in their active contribution during the current covid-19 crisis and acknowledged that FICCI has been sharing constructive suggestions with the Government.

Mr Goyal said that while this crisis may be a setback for all our businesses and economy, but this will also be a new beginning for the country. As has been seen in the past, India has always outperformed post the crisis. He further added that current crisis is a great opportunity to reorient our businesses, to relook at our efficiency, to look at our cost structures, and to look at the way we do business. Even from the government perspective, he said that this is a period of discovery and about minutely looking at what we can do for further reforms and how we can change the ways and processes.

Mr Goyal said that Prime Minister’s decision of extending the national lockdown and having more stringent measures in the coming week is a well thought out decision. In cases such as current epidemic, there is always a time it takes to get a grip on the situation. He emphasised that India stands out like a bright star in this situation. India was amongst the first to impose travel restrictions from China; amongst the first to start quarantining people who came from other parts of the world and amongst the first to consider lockdown even when the number of cases was under three digits (under 100).

He mentioned that while the Finance Minister will come out with a considered and well thought-out balanced economic package for supporting industrial economy, it is also important to start looking at areas/ sectors where India can have dominance and start preparing for scale and better quality so that we can fill in the gaps in the global supply chain. It is a golden opportunity for all of us ? we can make this pandemic as three steps backwards so that we can make high jump and take ten steps forward in days, months, and years to come.

The Minister alluded to the seven steps mentioned by Hon’ble Prime Minister in his appeal to the Nation while announcing the extension of lockdown period. He asked everyone to adhere to those seven steps, including usage of Ayush medicine, and downloading of Aarogya Setu App, amongst others.

During the discussion with members of the FICCI National Executive Committee, the Minister also addressed several concerns of industry participants.

On the issue of extension of SEZ policy, Mr Goyal said that the request for the same has been shared with the Ministry of Finance and they are hopeful of hearing from them soon on this important issue.

On maintaining Business Continuity, the Minister said that going forward there will be a lot of changes in the way businesses are done and our companies must prepare for the same. Meanwhile, during the current difficult phase industry should seek help of the 24-hour control rooms established in DPIIT, Commerce Ministry and Railways to flag any of their problems.

Given the precarious state of cash flows from which many businesses are suffering, industry members urged the Minister that it is important for members of the banking industry to support enterprises fully. Mr Goyal emphasised the importance of public sector banks in carrying out various developmental programs of the government. He also alluded to the huge investments that came to industry through the erstwhile developmental banks such as IDBI, ICICI and IIFL. He also assured that PSU banks will continue to support the industry in such challenging times.

The Minister further added that that the government is aware of the need for economic support to industry. He urged the members to wait for the announcement from Finance Minister, who has to come forward with a package within the confines of India’s overall fiscal headroom.

He urged the industry members to take care of the health and welfare of the lesser privileged sections of the society and to support them during the time of present crisis.