Responding to the demand of the information and broadcasting minister and local MP Manish Tewari, union minister for micro, medium and small enterprises KH Muniyappa assured city industrialists that he would look into the measures to be taken so that the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) is not misused by countries such as China which route their exports to India through SAARC countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh thus harming the local industry.
Speaking during an interaction with the small and medium entrepreneurs from Ludhiana on Tuesday, Muniyappa admitted that the misuse of SAFTA has played a big role in bringing the local industries to the backfoot and its gross misuse is being done by China.
The minister regretted that instead of Ludhiana industry exporting to other countries as it had all the potential, things were being imported.
Muniyappa recalled, long back in early sixties his freedom fighter father had gifted him a bicycle for going to the school and that had been manufactured in Ludhiana.
He asked the city industrialists to prepare a comprehensive draft in consultation with Tewari so that he could get it approved within the possible parameters.
For developing clusters he said, it was primarily the job of the state government to build these clusters by providing the infrastructure and power. He said, “Let the state government submit a complete proposal and plan and he will ensure it is approved within one month.”
Earlier speaking on the occasion, union information and broadcasting minister and local MP Manish Tewari called for granting exemption from central excise duty to cycle and other light engineering manufacturers as had been granted to the hosiery and textile industry.
Tewari expressed his gratitude to Muniyappa for personally coming to learn about the problems being faced by Ludhiana industry.
'Concerned PM has sent us to address your issues'
Both the union ministers told the industrialists that it was at the behest of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who was concerned about the plight of small and medium enterprises that the current interaction had been organised.
Muniyappa disclosed that the PM had assured them that he would personally ensure whatever measures were possible would be taken at the earliest to facilitate the industry.
Among others present on the occasion included MLA Surinder Dawer, ex MLAs Jassi Khangura, Milkiat Singh Birmi, Milkiat Singh Dakha, district Congress president Pawan Dewan.
Earlier, industry representatives Badish Jindal, Joginder Kumar, Manjit Singh Khalsa and Vinod Thapar, also gave a representation of their demands.
Muniyappa sings Tewari's praises
In the event that was organised by Tewari to woo industrialists ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, MSME minister Muniyappa went gaga over Tewari.
He termed Tewari the most loving union minister at the Centre who enjoys a good reputation in every union ministry.
In return, Tewari also praised the union minister for visiting Ludhiana by personally listening to the issues of the industries.