Indian Market Should Be Captured by Domestic Players, Says Min Pratap Sarangi
An employee works inside a garment factory. (Representative Image: Reuters)
Union Minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi on Friday called for efforts by the local industry to capture the country's huge domestic market, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' or a self-reliant India. Addressing a virtual conference organised by industry body Assocham, the minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) said, "India is a big market and our domestic market should be captured by us."
Citing an example, he said earlier the market depended on China and Vietnam for bamboo for making incense sticks (agarbatti), but now the duty has been increased to 25 per cent. The Centre recently shifted agarbatti from free trade to 'restricted' trade category in the import policy and enhanced the import duty from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on 'round bamboo sticks' used for manufacturing incense sticks in an effort to boost the domestic industry.
Elaborating on the role and need of technology especially in these pandemic times, the minister called for its adoption keeping sustainability in mind. "All sectors have been adversely impacted by COVID including MSMEs which employ a lot of people. Technology gives us the opportunity to bring our life back on the tracks and is a boon in many ways if used correctly. We now need eco-friendly tech focusing on sustainable, balanced and harmonious growth," he noted.
Technology can also be applied in remote areas and enable rural artisans to access global markets, he pointed out. MSMEs have gained increased attention in India in the recent times, considering their strategic importance to the economy. However, they face several challenges, including the need to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies and high cost of credit. There are 63.8 million MSMEs in various sectors, employing close to 111 million people. Of these, around 14 per cent are women led-enterprises, and close to 59.5 per cent are based in rural areas. In all, the MSME sector accounts for 31 per cent of India's GDP and 48 per cent of its exports.