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Small industries need special credit help: Nirmala Sitharaman

The commerce and industries minister has said a special bank lending facility for small and medium enterprises should be created as part of the strategy to boost manufacturing in India. Excerpts from an interview.

business Updated: Jan 08, 2015 02:28 IST
Timsy Jaipuria
Timsy Jaipuria
Hindustan Times
Nirmala Sitharaman,Make in India,tax structure

Commerce and industries minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said a special bank lending facility for small and medium enterprises should be created as part of the strategy to boost manufacturing in India. She spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:

Can we expect some tax breaks in the coming budget to boost the ‘Make in India’ initiative?

It is not just me, even the finance minister has said he is in favour of a simplified tax structure. I know that a lot of work has happened in this regard. Tax breaks is a different situation. The foreign trade policy is not yet out, and we are looking at a comprehensive way where, sector specific concessions, tax breaks, some sectoral production based incentives, all these can be made available to the sectors with exports potential.

Investors have often cited an adversarial tax regime as working against India’s image as an investment destination. What is the government doing on this?

In the workshop on the ‘Make in India’ initiative last month, the revenue secretary said the department was fully aware of the anxieties the industry was facing. He made a suo motu commitment of coming up with better and friendlier tax regime. We will submit sectoral reports to the finance minister listing out the problems so that some of these could get addressed in the budget.

Which are the specific areas that need attention to boost manufacturing, particularly for small and medium enterprises?

I wish credit is available particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) because that is where immediate job creation is possible. However, credit should be available to all the sectors in manufacturing, but SMEs’ requirements are different from the large companies. We have requested the finance minister to look into the matter. Bankers need to realise that credit requirement of SMEs should be given particular importance. The finance minister is appreciative of this fact that banks will have to spend more time in understanding it and tailor credit facility for SMEs.

Given the wobbly global economic situation, aren’t you worried about India’s export performance?

I am not engaging myself in meeting the targets as every industry is making effort to reach the target. We are here to facilitate. We must recognise that the global economic situation is a not in a good shape. The newer markets in south-east Asia, Latin America or some countries in Africa are not small and hold out a lot of promise for India’s exports. They are now looking at India and we are asking for greater market access in those countries. Especially in new sectors like project building, I am happy to say a lot of our leading corporations are obtaining good projects in Africa, where they take a team, go complete the project and hand it over to the country and come back. India if can handhold them like China, then they can do really well and we are working towards that.

First Published: Jan 08, 2015 00:36 IST