MSMEs stare at labour and raw material supply issues

NEW DELHI: Small industries in the country will face a shortage of raw material and labour as the graded lifting of the ongoing nationwide lockdown begins from Monday amid a lack of clarity over whether entire supply chains will operate.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the government will have to look for ‘practical solutions’ to what is perceived as the ‘right suggestions’ by the government.
 

“For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), the entire supply chain has to be activated before production begins. So, shortage of raw material is a possible challenge that could crop up,” Sreekant Somany, Chair, CII MSME Council, told ET.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has permitted quite a few industries, including MSMEs, to open up amid the lockdown to contain the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

However, the MSMEs stare at a lack of capital, both financial and human.

“Most workers returned home when the lockdown was announced, we do not have public transport to move those that are here,” said Anil Bhardwaj, Secretary General of the Federation of Indian MSMEs (FISME), adding that the list of industries that are allowed to operate is only indicative. “Most industrial units are in municipal areas,” he said.

Small industries in the country will face a shortage of raw material and labour as the graded lifting of the ongoing nationwide lockdown begins from Monday amid lack of clarity over whether entire supply chains will operate.

Apart from these issues, effecting a behavioural change in workers seems more daunting.

“It is possible for the organised sector to operate, maintain social distancing,” said Mukesh Mohan Gupta, President of Chamber of Indian MSMEs (CIMSME). “It is very difficult to inculcate a sense of social distancing among labourers.”

Allowing self-employed and unorganised sector workers to operate could also pose a health challenge since there is no protocol for medical screening of such people he added.