The Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari has stated we could well use the current Covid-19 crisis and turn it into an opportunity to address a number of other problems which include roadblocks in highway projects in the country as well as the issue of stranded migrant labourers in many states. Gadkari said that talks are underway with state governments to resume work on highway construction projects where stranded migrant labourers can be given employment.
According to him district collectors can take a decision on employing migrant labourers to jump start highway projects across the country. He added that adequate safety protocol, however, will have to be in place.
The Highways construction which saw reaching record level in 2019-20, should increase pace by 2-3 times in coming years to meet growing needs of the infrastructure sector. He has requested NHAI and its arbitration units to decide matters within three months to avoid delays. The Minister has stated that that bringing in liquidity in the market is key at this time of crisis and to ensure that, NHAI has already started the process of settling all the pending claims and arbitration.
About the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the Minister had said a Rs 10,000 crore “Fund of Funds” will soon be approved by the government to buy up to 15 per cent equity in MSMEs with high credit rating that want to list on stock exchanges and raise money from the capital markets. A separate scheme was being formulated for according credit rating to MSMEs based on their annual turnover, exports and GST payments, and that the National Small Industries Corporation or another government body will control the Fund of Funds.
He said the government wants the Fund’s corpus to be utilised by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) having AAA rating. The AAA rating implies high credit worthiness.