Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday (2nd July 2020) said that India is not going to allow Chinese companies to participate in highway projects, including the ones through joint ventures. This comes amid the border standoff with China.
The government is also going to make sure that Chinese investors are not entertained in various sectors like Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), according to Gadkari.
The union minister's statements seem to be of importance due to the border standoff between India and China in Ladakh. We lost 20 Indian Army personnel last month amid the border standoff.
In an interview to PTI, Gadkari said, “We will not give permission to joint ventures that have Chinese partners for road construction. We have taken a firm stand that if the Chinese companies come via a joint venture in our country, we will not allow it.”
He further said that a policy will be out soon to ban Chinese companies and relax the norms for Indian firms to help expand their eligibility criteria for participation in the highway projects.
At present only a few projects which were undertaken much earlier involve some Chinese partners. The new decision will be implemented in both current and future tenders.
He also said that they have decided to relax norms for Indian companies to ensure that they qualify in bidding in large projects. Adding that he has directed the Highways Secretary, Giridhar Aramane, and NHAI Chairman, SS Sandhu to hold a meeting for relaxing technical and financial norms so that Indian companies can qualify to work.
“Even if we have to go for a foreign joint venture in the areas of technology, consultancy, or design, we will not allow Chinese,” the Union Minister said.
About the MSME sector, he said that the effort is to enhance the capacity of local production but at the same time foreign investment is being promoted.
However, despite foreign investments, Chinese investors will not be permitted to make investments.
“For up-gradation of technology, research, consultancy and other works foreign investment and a joint venture in MSME will be encouraged but Chinese companies will not be entertained,” the Road Transport, Highways, and MSME minister said.
On being asked about stopping of consignments from China at Indian ports, he said that there is no arbitrary stopping of goods at Indian ports and the government is initiating path-breaking reforms to help MSMEs and businesses with the view of making the country self-reliant.
The Chinese exports will be discouraged from this step and country will take a step forward towards being self-reliant, says Gadkari claiming to be among the strongest supporters of ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’.
Gadkari had urged departments concerned to accelerate the clearance of consignments which were booked 2-3 months before this situation took its present shape.
After representation from a farmer's and traders' body that imported agriculture equipment consignments were delayed at ports, Gadkari in a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal had sought early clearance of the said consignments.
He further said, “Indian business has the strength and skills to grow further and power our journey towards self-reliance. Under the strong leadership of PM Narendra Modi, the Government of India is proactive and initiating path-breaking reforms that will help businesses and MSMEs.”
Due to increased border tensions with China, Indian customs officials have started physical inspection of all consignments coming from the neighboring country especially Chennai and Vishakhapatnam ports.
The government on Monday (29th June) banned 59 apps, mostly having Chinese links, citing threats to national security.