Home > Companies > News > FM Sitharaman's message to India Inc: Time to reset relations with labourers

NEW DELHI : Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said the Indian industry needs to reset its relations with employees by engaging with unskilled workers in a professional manner and skilling employees at all levels.

“Mindsets in industry need to set examples in handling workers in a way that is acceptable to all," the minister told a closed-door interaction with members of the industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), adding that the central government trusts industry fully.

Her comments come against the backdrop of a crisis around migrant workers, many of them unskilled.

They are leaving cities for their homes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, laying bare their often pitiful work and living conditions.

This was the first interaction between the finance minister and industry since her unveiling of the details of the 20 trillion economic package announced by the government to kick-start the Indian economy.

Sitharaman said the government plans to give a big push to the national infrastructure pipeline in order to create demand with a multiplier effect. “Large projects will be frontloaded and this will bring in positive energy and sentiments," she said.

On a question regarding small and mid-sized enterprises, Sitharaman said the government had announced clear handholding measures for these enterprises and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) even before the covid-19 pandemic.

She said that credit availability for additional term loans and working capital loans is intended to reach all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which is why the government has provided a guarantee to banks so that they overcome their hesitation in lending.

“With the government providing full and partial guarantees with a special purpose vehicle, the bank hesitation (for lending) has been addressed," she said.

Responding to a question on agriculture, the finance minister said comprehensive reforms have been announced under the self-reliant India programme.

“Three model Acts have been shared with state governments. Many states have commenced on land reforms," she added.

Meanwhile, industry representatives voiced concern that large businesses too are facing a lot of stress, particularly in the tourism, automotive and aviation sectors.

“Discussions need to be undertaken to protect jobs, increase demand, and ensure survival of large businesses," CII said in a statement.

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