Novel coronavirus: India Inc has found itself in the soup as supplies from China are gradually drying up due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Mobile phones, pharmaceuticals, auto parts and insecticides are some of sectors that could suffer due to the shortage in supplies.
The government is reworking the supply chain, as mentioned in a report in Business Standard. However, it is still unclear on how the shortfall can be met in the near future. While officials have pointed out that this is the time for India to scale up its manufacturing capabilities, they have also acknowledged that the process would take some time.
Not only the shortage in supplies, the government is also tackling the issue of bureaucratic procedures related to imports. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that the government is undertaking certain measures to ensure that import of certain items are exempted from documentation so that consignments from China are cleared fast, as mentioned in the daily. The report stated that Chinese officials are unable to provide the necessary paperwork for cross-border trade in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.
The minister said that the government is studying the sectors and ports to provide relief from paperwork.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs also said that they feared that huge consignments are stuck in ports because of a delay in clearances. The importers are also paying demurrage charges, which has hiked up the cost for them. Demurrage charges are paid by importers when they do not take delivery of the entire consignment and move it out of the port within permissible number of free days.
According to Confederation of Indian Industry, China supplies 43 per cent of India's imports of the top 20 goods including mobile handsets, computers, fertilisers, pharma ingredient API, and antibiotics.
The Finance Ministry is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday to assess the impact of coronavirus to the country's trade of Make in India initiative. "On the impact of Coronavirus Outbreak and any disruptions to Make in India or to Indian export/import FinMinIndia is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday 18 Feb. Stakeholders welcome. If unable to attend please email your inputs at firstname.lastname@example.org," tweeted FM Sitharaman on Sunday.