Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution Minister Shri PiyushGoyal today met with Industry Associations and reviewed their preparedness to meet the present and future challenges because of Covid-19 pandemic.
Shri PiyushGoyal said that the second wave of COVID-19 has been difficult for all of us. Appreciating the industry for its pro-active role, he said that it is your resilience & commitment that is ensuring our comeback with greater strength. He expressed that our economy will bounce back soon post-Covid successfully.
The Minister said that today’s interaction was a great opportunity for all of us to reflect & prepare a roadmap for the times ahead. He said that if 2nd wave has taught us anything, preparing for the future means that we learn from past experiences and start working to mitigate that risk from today itself.
Shri Goyal said that Indian economy is witnessing a robust recovery & is on track to surpass pre COVID-19 levels. He said the FDI during COVID-19 period has been the highest ever, as we have FDI of US$ 81.72 bn in FY 2020-21, more than 10% than FY 2019-20. There was a Record Freight loading as Railways loaded highest ever freight of 114.8 MT in May 2021 which is 9.7% higher than previous best of 104.6 MT in May 2019. Since last 9 months, Railways is continuously loading highest ever freight in respective months. Speaking about the rebound of foreign Trade, he said the exports in Apr’21 have surpassed the pre COVID-19 figures. Merchandise exports in Apr’21 were US$30.63 bn, up by ~18% compared to Apr’19. Even during May’21, when the daily active cases were peaking in the country, the Exports did very well.
Shri Goyal said that in the recent past, due to rapid rise in Covid-19 cases, the industrial production was severely impacted due to lockdowns, non-availability of oxygen, migration of workers, and the spread of the Corona virus amongst the workforce. It is expected from industry associations to draw upon the lessons learnt from past experiences to meet the present and future challenges. He said that we should focus on Learnings to build resilience for future outbreaks by building Adequate Health facilities He called upon the Industry Associations to help the children impacted by COVID-19 whose parents died due to covid-19. He said that an institutional mechanism may be set up to deal with such situations. The Minister called them to include adaptability & mobility into planning.
Shri Goyal said that we should find an equitable balance between the Lives and Livelihoods. Besides strengthening the health facilities, the Minister talked about providing housing to migrant workers near the site, Encouraging Remote working, Vaccinating all stakeholders on ‘mission mode’, and instrumental role to be played by Industry Associations in knowledge transfer to build resilience in Industry.
Shri Goyal called upon the industry associations to prepare a comprehensive checklist that needs to be followed for a possible 3rd COVID wave, covering various measures. Welcoming any action oriented plans & suggestions which can be implemented quickly to catalyse growth, Shri Goyal assured full support from the Government in overcoming the bottlenecks and hurdles. He said that DPIIT and DGFT have been running helplines to support their stakeholders.
Industry representatives, including those from CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHD chambers of commerce and industry, and others shared their experiences and preparedness in case of a 3rd wave of Covid-19 occurs. They also put forth their suggestions how to mitigate the covid-19 impact on human life as well as the economy. The representatives assured that Indian Industry is fully prepared to face any eventuality in future as they have set up a number of Covid-19 Centres in different cities across the country and industry has ramped up the oxygen production manifolds.