A webinar on ‘Navigating Trade and Industry in COVID-19 Crisis’ was organised by MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and All India Association of Industries (AIAI) on April 23, 2020. Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Member of Rajya Sabha and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Sherpa to G20 and G7 said, “COVID-19 crisis has shattered the foundation of human being’s thinking. The crisis has weakened the position of advanced economies such as USA, EU and UK. India has emerged as a trusted partner in the global geopolitics. Central banks across the world are pumping record amount of liquidity to stimulate their economies. The global financial market is flushed with surplus liquidity and India seems to be the logical destination for this liquidity. India stands to benefit from the potential shift in global value chain after the COVID-19 crisis,” said
“I expect India to be the global manufacturing hub for medical devices, engineering, electronics, automotive, pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing sectors. India will also be a major hub for medical tourism,” Mr. Prabhu added.
Mr. Prabhu also remarked that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are going to be the backbone of the future industrial development of India. MSMEs play an important role in India’s exports, employment and GDP growth. Large companies depend on MSMEs for sourcing components and services.
He further added that the next phase of economic growth will come from more than 700 districts in the country. The government has identified six districts, viz. Varanasi, Solan, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Muzaffarpur and Vishakapatnam across five states for accelerating their economic growth by 2-3%.
Therefore, India’s growth story will not only emanate from the macro level but also at district level. Consultative approach is important for government policy making which is being adopted through district-led growth.
Speaking about India’s position in global negotiation on trade issues, Mr. Prabhu said India will have to strategise in order to promote its national interest and then its global interests.
In conclusion, Mr. Prabhu said that contract manufacturing is an effective way of becoming competitive in the global market.
Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai said, “Post-Covid-19, it is important to revitalise trade and industry. India is now positioned to be the next best choice after China for multinational companies to set up their manufacturing units. The government and banks must come together to work out a stimulus package for MSMEs to overcome the pandemic crisis. Specifically, the stimulus package should benefit companies with less than INR 5,000 crore turnover.”
Speaking about policy reforms, Mr. Kalantri pointed out, “The government should reform regressive tax laws and other punitive regulations and improve ease of doing business.”