Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday set out a strong case for the MSME sector being a major engine of growth for India. He also emphasised on India being one of the most attractive destinations for investments.

"A total 30% of the GDP in Indian economy is contributed by MSMEs. Now we have decided to take it up to 40%. Out of our exports, 48% is also from MSMEs. And the exports... we want to take it up to 60%," said Gadkari, who is minister for road transport & highways and micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Gadkari, who was addressing the TiE Global Summit 2020, said these MSMEs generate over 11 crore jobs and that is one of the reasons why it is the backbone of the economy. "We want to create 5 crore new jobs," he added. The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE)—which is organising the event—is a non-profit organisation based in Silicon Valley.

The turnover from agriculture, rural, and tribal areas, particularly from village industries like handloom, handicrafts, Khadi Gram Udyog, etc. comes to ₹80,000 crore, Gadkari pointed out.

The minister also remarked that this figure needs to be pushed up to ₹5 lakh crore in the next two years. "And that is the reason our emphasis is on development of industries in agriculture, rural, and tribal areas," he said.

This, if implemented, will lead to more industries and more employment potential in rural India.

Gadkari emphasised that for MSMEs to succeed, skill training in fields such as science and technology is very important. "This is the time of a golden opportunity to invest in India because India is the fastest growing economy," he said.

He acknowledges that Covid-19 has had an impact on global and Indian economy. But, he said, there is an opportunity in every crisis.

The government has announced a ₹3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loan for businesses, which includes MSMEs, in its economic stimulus package. Alongside this, in early August, the government also earmarked a ₹20,000 crore stress fund for MSMEs hurt by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"These are very important measures by which we can attract global investment for MSMEs. We want to make the registration of MSMEs very transparent and easy," Gadkari said.

Gadkari also added that e-market linkage for MSMEs as a replacement for trade, fairs, and exhibitions is also very important. "We are now planning to make an e-marketplace which can be useful for a small MSME. Our aim is to create employment potential. For employment potential, we need industries and for that we need water, power, transport, and communication," he said.

According to the minister, India's infrastructure situation is very conducive for growing industries. "Our road network is very good. We are planning to make 22 green express highways. As far as power is concerned, we're power surplus, and water is also available, while communication is also in a good position," he explained.

Gadkari concluded by saying that the aim of the government is to reduce imports and increase exports under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' scheme. "To increase exports, we need to make good quality [products] at reduced costs, including logistics, labour, and power costs," he said.

"[A] great potential is available in India and at the same time young, talented engineering manpower is available too. India is one of most attractive places for investment," he concluded.

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