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What MSMEs Want from Various Ministries Amid COVID-19 Situation

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The global pandemic of coronavirus has made the entire world on the same page. This is a tough time especially with regards to healthcare as well as the economy. And considering the fact that MSMEs play a vital role in the economic landscape, it becomes very important for the policymakers to listen and understand the contemporary needs of Indian MSMEs.

In this respect, SMEStreet have spoken to Indian Industries Association (IIA) an apex body of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in North India , which has issued an advisory to all its more than 8000 members to abide by the directives of the Government and the appeal of the Prime Minister. At the same time realizing the difficult time for MSMEs ahead not only till the effect of Covid-19 is gone but much beyond this, IIA have submitted its suggestions to various Central Government Ministries for taking steps without putting much burden on the Government exchequer.

In its representation to the Government, National President IIA Mr Pankaj Kumar highlighted the present situation of MSMEs in India and said that in view of countrywide Lockdown & complete shutdown of Industries from 25th March 2020, MSME’s will be subjected to irreparable loss if not supported by the Central and State Governments. Affected MSME ‘s will be unable to carry on with the production activities leading to zero capacity utilization and also no Electric power utilization, yet, all MSMEs will be required to pay Demand / fixed charges / minimum charges, pay the Wages to all the workers & employees during the period of lockdowns, make payment of bank loan & interests and meet all other fixed costs. Although, government has placed lockdown for a period of 21 days, up to 14th.April, however, given the candid sharing of concern by the Hon’ble Prime Minister during his address, further extensions cannot be ruled out at this stage. Therefore, there seems uncertainty of this shutdown looming on industries as well. In case of prolonged shutdown and without support from the Government, these MSME’s may find very difficult to recover from the shock.

Mr Pankaj Kumar conveyed his appreciation and admiration for the proactive move by the Government for extending the dates for statutory compliances, payments & filing returns for direct & indirect taxes and so on to 30th.Jun`2020. 

President Indian Industries Association (IIA)  however has asked various Central Government Ministries for more support to MSME’s as under:

  • Suggestions submitted to Union Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman :-
  • For MSME’s the Bank EMI’s & interest on TL and CC be deferred for at least six months or more subject to the impact of Covid19.
  •  MSME’s should be allowed additional working capital up to 30% for six months without any additional charges. However in the case of CGTMSE loans it should be up to 50%.
  • Considering the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, no enterprise that cannot be called a habitual offender, be declared NPA, post Covid-19 circumstances.
  • RBI should issue mandatory instructions to do away with credit rating for next six months, so that MSME’s can get finances on lower interest rates.
  • TDS for payment of salaries and services should be suspended for six months.
  • GST refunds to be further expedited and documentation requirements to be reduced.
  • GST Registration cancelation done earlier should be given time for restoration up to 30th September 2020 without any interest / late charges  / penalties.
  • The government should also give instructions to tax officers to put a temporary hold on the fixation of personal hearing.
  • The Government should issue instructions to the adjudicating / appealet authorities to not to pass any order ex party.
  • PCFC (packing credit in foreign currency) loan against export order is being taken by the exporters with the agreement with the bank to handover the documents with b/l   within committed period but due to lock down industries are closed and shipments are held up. So exporters are not in a position to handover the documents to the bank within committed period. Under such circumstances  banks should be instructed  not to pressurize the exporters in case they are not able to handover the documents within the time period.

 Suggestions submitted to Union Labou Minister Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar :-

  • Provide a waiver for all PF, ESI and Gratuity payments by employer for six months  if the employer does not retrench or remove more than 10% of its workforce.
  • The departments should not issue notices for time bound compliances.
  • The payment to workers for man days lost due to lockdown  or Covid-19 illness should be paid or born by ESIC for those workers who are registered with ESIC. It is after all a medical emergency and ESIC is having surplus of Rs 10000 Crore which is contributed by the workers and their employees only. There cannot be a better utilization of this surplus as it is required in today’s situation. For other workers in MSME’s not registered in ESIC, Government may provide sustenance allowance + ration as has been done by Govt. of U.P for construction industry workers. OR at least the employers be allowed to pay maximum Rs 1000/- per month instead of full salary and Government may provide ration free of cost to these workers. 
  • Industry may be allowed to adjust medical leaves & earned leaves for paid holidays to Covid-19 affected employees . 

Suggestions submitted to Union Minister MSME Mr Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister Commerce & Industry Mr Piyush Goyal :-

  • Government Departments, Government Undertakings and Big Industries should be directed to make payments for supplies made by MSEs to them immediately and in no case the delay in payments should be for more than 45 days as stipulated in the MSMED Act. 
  • Invocation of Force Majeure Clause for all contractual obligations and no penalties be imposed by State and Central Government agencies for delayed deliveries or completion of the projects. The period of completion of the projects under any MOU signed between the Entrepreneur  and State / Central Government undertaking / department be extended by minimum 3 months  or further subject to the impact of Covid19.
  • Advise all power discoms across the country to waiver / exempt Fixed Charges / Demand Charges / Minimum Charges from their MSME power consumers for the period of Lockdown.

Faiz Askari

Faiz is a mediapreneur specialised in Small Business and Technology domain.

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