Mumbai: Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday stressed that the Government trusts industry fully and comprehensively. She urged industry to plan for engaging labour with a more professional approach and engage in skilling. “Mindsets in industry need to set examples in handling workers in a way that is acceptable to all,” stated the Finance Minister.

The Minister was speaking at an interaction with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which is marking 125 years of its existence in 2020. Felicitating CII on this milestone, Smt Sitharaman said that CII has played a critical role in the country and its members have played strong roles in their own sectors. She exhorted CII to stand out as an exemplar in the policy making process.

Industry needs to reset its relations with workers and plan for labour including unskilled labour, said the Minister. She requested industry to consider a professional manner in the terms for engaging unskilled workers and work towards the skilling of employees at all levels.

On a question regarding the MSME sector, she stated that before Covid-19 as well, clear hand holding was announced for MSME and NBFCs to help enterprises in rural areas. She stated that credit availability for additional term loan and working capital loan was intended to reach all MSME, and hence the Government has provided a guarantee to banks to overcome hesitation in lending. “When Government provides full and partial guarantees with a special purpose vehicle post-lockdown, the bank hesitation has been addressed,” she said.

Responding to a question on agriculture, the Finance Minister mentioned that comprehensive reforms have been announced. Three model Acts have been shared with State governments. She stated that many states have commenced on land reforms.

The National Infrastructure Pipeline will be given a big push in order to create demand with a multiplier effect, stressed the Finance Minister on a question related to infrastructure. “Large projects will be front loaded and this will bring in positive energy and sentiments,” said Sitharaman.

The Finance Minister noted that there has been a fair and open interaction on GST which has come to the bottom quarter in inflows. Discussions are underway on this.

She agreed that infusion of liquidity in the power sector of Rs 90,000 crores would be fast-tracked.

Concerns that large industry too is facing a lot of stress, particularly in certain sectors such as tourism, automotives and aviation were also discussed. Discussions need to be undertaken to protect jobs, increase demand, and ensure survival of large businesses, industry requested.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII noted that the new definition of MSME has been well received by them as brought out in a CII survey.