In a letter to the prime minister, Ludhiana Hand Tools Association President S C Ralhan said that many of the competing countries, particularly China, provide support to manufacturing units by providing steel and other inputs at much reasonable prices to boost competitiveness of their engineering sector in the global markets.
He said that India is gradually losing out its markets to China in the value-added segment of exports and the recent growth visible in exports is largely on account of hike in the prices of metal and commodities.
A sharp decline is seen in the export trends of finished engineering goods, he said.
“In the given situation, the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) industry needs to be provided steel at reasonable prices so that export competitiveness of value-added products is maintained,” Ralhan said in his letter.
He cautioned that if the prices would not come under control, a large number of manufacturers would be out of business and that could result in closure of factories, loss of employment.
He suggested the government consider setting up a raw material bank for MSMEs to provide steel and other key inputs to them by extending some kind of subsidy.
“An immediate decision is needed particularly as continuance of pandemic in the country has already resulted in closure of large number of MSMEs which will further increase, if immediate steps are not taken to provide steel gto them at most competitive price,” he added.