“You may not like it, but we will have to increase import duties in some places,” Gadkari said at the India @75 summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“Because unless we meet what China is producing in volume, our costs will not come down. This is why we have to see that we increase the duty and encourage Indian manufacturers. When production happens in bulk, we can naturally make it competitive,” he added.
Gadkari said that the Indian industry must identify products which are being imported and identify hindrances in these sectors to improve ease of doing business.
India in May launched the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, looking to reduce its dependence on other countries and encourage local production.
Gadkari-led MSME ministry earlier this year managed to have import duties slashed on incense sticks and bamboo used in the same, to encourage local industry here.
In July this year, the government imposed licensing requirements for import of colour TV and tyres, in a bid to discourage imports. Similar measures are being mulled for toys, furniture and sports goods.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission under the MSME ministry, which batted for curbs on import of incense sticks, is also pursuing a ban on import of silk from China, among other products.
Gadkari said that the government was working on policies to see that the smallest of businesses in the country are covered under benefits for MSMEs.
“We have to see if we can make joint ventures with foreign companies for technology upgradation and how low-cost foreign capital can be brought in,” he added.
Gadkari further asked CII to identify issues faced by MSMEs in the country. “CII should identify.. where can our MSMEs, small scale industries, find a market, where can we reduce imports and create a market in India.and what are the sectors where we can increase exports,” Gadkari said.