A virtual trade dialogue on ‘Creating Opportunities for Trade & Industry in Maharashtra post-COVID-19’ was organised by MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and All India Association of Industries. Mr. Subhash Desai Hon’ble Minister for Industries and Mining, Government of Maharashtra said, “Government of Maharashtra will introduce a new scheme of licensing known as Mahapraman Patra, where a single master license is enough for new industries to begin operation in the state. New industries that have secured this Mahapraman Patra can start operation without waiting for any other licenses. Government of Maharashtra has earmarked 30,000-hectare land with ready infrastructure such as road, water, power, etc. for new investors. Apart from this, MIDC can make available industrial sheds on plug and play basis. Our task force is busy negotiating with investors in USA, UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to attract investment. Government of Maharashtra has set up a special committee to introduce Udyog Mitra. Under Udyog Mitra, every special officer will be dedicated to new investors for providing end-to-end solutions.”
Sharing information about other incentives given to new investors, Mr. Desai said, “Government of Maharashtra will waive all license fees, MIDC charges and other statutory payments to new investors.”
The minister said Maharashtra has a huge talent pool as more than one million graduates across diverse streams pass out of all Universities in the state every year. The state government is setting up an industrial employment bureau to address the demand for skilled and unskilled workers by industry.
Speaking about the relief measures to distressed enterprises amidst COVID-19 crisis, the minister said, “The state government will waive fixed demand charge for electricity consumption by industries for three months. The central government has also provided various incentives such as relaxation in provident fund contribution norms for distressed enterprises. Government of Maharashtra will supplement the relief measures provided by the central government to industry in this regard.”
Giving details about the relaxation of lockdown measures, Mr. Desai said, “The state government allowed 66953 units to resume operation till May 14, 2020 and of this, 38287 units started production. Of the 38287 units, 36,000 units are MSMEs. The state government has allowed six export-processing units in Andheri, Mumbai and the diamond bourse in BKC to resume operation, besides many export-oriented units, agro industries and information technology firms in other parts of the state.”
Mr. Desai assured that the state government is taking proactive steps to provide relief to the industry and lift lockdown by June 1, 2020. He said lockdown in major industrial areas of Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Aurangabad will be relaxed as soon as the rate of COVID-19 infection declines.
Mr. Desai exuded confidence that the COVID-19 crisis brings opportunity for Maharashtra and India and with all the proactive policy measures, the state will emerge as an attractive investment destination post COVID-19 crisis.
During the virtual dialogue, many industrialists raised concerns about the hardships faced during the lockdown and the Hon’ble Minister assured to address these concerns soon.
Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai said, “We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of Rs. 20 lakh crore package to MSMEs, agriculture, migrant labourers and further relief measures to be announced to trade and industry. Now, we need more relief measures from the state government. States such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have started relaxing labour laws. Government of Maharashtra should also simply labour and tax laws and provide for effective implementation of policy measures to industry. Further, the government needs to relax restrictions on logistics operations in the state.”
Mr. Kalantri called for waiver of taxes and other incentives for hospitality, tourism, aviation and other services sector that employ large number of workers.
Mr. Kalantri suggested the government to relax lockdown norms in safe areas within the red zones for speedy revival of economy. He said, “The lockdown be continued only in containment zones and not in the entire part of the red zones, so that trade and industry in the safe areas can continue to function normally. There should be a task force that will monitor the containment of the spread of disease in entire Maharashtra.”
Mr. Kalantri also suggested various measures to promote new investment in Maharashtra. He said, “Government of Maharashtra must introduce five dedicated zones for development of IT, agriculture, textiles, manufacturing and automobile. These zones should be located along the Delhi Mumbai industrial corridor.”