Battered by Covid curbs, MSMEs seek definite assurance from Govt

As pandemic wreaks havoc across small businesses, representatives of the MSME sector have reached out to the government, seeking definite words of assurance on their key challenges.

The country’s MSMEs are of the view that some clarity on specific issues will help the sector avoid the panic situation faced during the initial days of lockdown-1 announced last year when the country saw a migrant exodus, coupled with soaring financial hardships of small businesses.

“Last year, the MSME sector was worst affected. With supply chains disrupted, and an acute absence of workers, the sector was in tatters. Hence, we think ensuring workers’ availability remains the most important concern now. We have requested to the Finance Minister that a televised address to the nation by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring businesses that there is no plan for nationwide lockdown, can be very helpful at this time. The workers’ exodus that appears to have again started, just like last year, will subside to a great extent. It would be a good message to the industry” says Animesh Saxena, President of Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME).

India on Monday reported 2,73,810 new Covid-19 cases, 1,619 fatalities.

Unlike last year, the government says this time it aims to adopt a strategy of creating small containment zones to control the spread of the virus.

Given the challenging times for the MSME sector in the country, Saxena also stressed that the banks’ moratorium facility provided to small businesses under the government’s Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) announced last year should now be extended.

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“We want ECLGS to be extended immediately and no businesses should be declared NPAs, for now. Such relief would greatly help their revival plan; else thousands of them are again staring at shuttering of their businesses,” cautioned Saxena.

FISME is to hold detailed discussions with member associations on Wednesday. Following this, it aims to further appraise the government on specific issues facing the sector.


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