Union minister Nitin Gadkari (File photo)

NEW DELHI: Amid concerns over delays in customs clearance for imports from China, transport and MSME minister Nitin Gadkari has written to the finance and commerce ministers, urging them to remove roadblocks to the quick release of goods at ports, arguing that these shipments have reached Indian shores based on payment made by industry players.
He told a web-platform that a delay in the passage of these imported goods will hurt Indian players, and not China. “Our focus is to reduce imports and to do so we can increase import duty. But holding up already imported items will harm our entrepreneurs as they will incur huge losses,” Gadkari said.
He wrote to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and commerce & industry minister Piyush Goyal after receiving a representation from a farmers’ association highlighting how there was a delay in customs clearance.
Farmers’ body met Gadkari over imports
A delegation of farmers’ association that met Gadkari highlighted how there was a delay in customs clearance for consignments of mechanical sprays and their spare parts, used for pesticide control.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a massive diversion of spraying equipment to urban areas, resulting in shortage in the farms. As a result, companies decided to import the equipment, which are held up at ports as the customs authorities decided on 100% examination of consignments shipped from China.
With Gadkari’s comments sparking considerable comment, as they were seen to be at odds to the enhanced scrutiny of Chinese products and the self-reliance campaign of the government, the minister took to Twitter to clarify he was responding to a specific question. “I am among the strongest proponents of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Anyone who is even slightly acquainted with me would know about my passion and work towards supporting as well as encouraging ‘Make in India’… Indian business has the strength and skills to grow further and power our journey towards self-reliance. Under (the) strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government of India is proactive and initiating path-breaking reforms that will help businesses and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” he tweeted.
In his letter to Sitharaman and Goyal, transport and MSME minister Nitin Gadkari has sought priority for clearance of imported agricultural equipment. Though he has not named any country from where such items are being imported, sources most of such spraying equipment come from China.

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