Union Minister of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari on Friday said he had to ask his secretary if there is a dearth of spoons in the country while highlighting the Chinese imports of commonly used products.
"We have made it mandatory to serve tea in kulhad (small earthen pots to drink tea) at 400 stations. It gave employment to potters. I felt bad when I got to know from my secretary that even Agarbatti (incense stick) and spoons for eating ice cream were being imported from China so I asked him 'kya Hindustan mein chammachon ki kami hai (Is there a dearth of spoons in India?)," Gadkari said during his address at an event here.
"Now, we have increased by 30 per cent duty... In Agarbatti, 25 lakh new employments will be created and the industry will grow by Rs 4,000 crore. We need maximum production with the involvement of the maximum number of persons," he added.
The Union Minister said that the contribution of MSME is 29 per cent in India's growth. "Now, we have set a target to take it to 50 per cent. The country's exports are 49 per cent from MSME and we have decided to take it to 69 per cent. 10-11 crore jobs have been created in MSME. We have made policies to generate 5 crores new employment in the coming time," he added.
"We have to reduce imports. Ahead of Parliament session, we will take a decision on the limit of MSME. It will surely benefit you (businesses)," he said.
Gadkari, who is also the Union Minister of Road, Highways, and Transport, said that the government has decided to build 22 green highways. "One highway will start from Gurgaon to Mumbai. It will be a 12-lane highway of 1300-1350 Kilometres. We have saved 16K crore in land acquisition on this highway route since it goes through the tribal and backward areas."
Emphasizing the need for waterways to reduce transportation costs, the Union Minister said that the work of 1380 kilometres has been completed on the Varanasi-Haldiya route.
"We are constructing 40 river ports. We have submitted a project report to World Bank for waterways on the Yamuna which will start from Delhi and will end in Prayagraj via Mathura, Agra, and Etawah... If the transportation cost by road is Rs 10, it is Rs 6 in railway and only Rs 1 in waterways."
Gadkari also stressed on the need to move towards alternative fuels.
"We have given work to generate fuel from bamboo and use it for generating aviation fuel and biofuel...Bio cng, ethanol, methanol, electric is our future. We should move towards alternative fuels. We have big imports and pollution is a big issue," he said.