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Govt doesn’t have data on lockdown-hit women-led units reporting decrease in sales revenue: Narayan Rane

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: According to a recent study by KVIC assessing the impact of the pandemic on micro units including women-led units under PMEGP, 88 per cent beneficiaries had reported a negative impact due to Covid.

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: While the Covid-induced lockdown ravaged the MSME sector including its women-led enterprises, the government is yet to record the same. Currently, “The Ministry of MSME does not have data on the percentage of women-led enterprises who reported a significant decrease in their sales revenue post lockdown,” said MSME Minister Narayan Rane. The minister was responding to a question in the Lok Sabha recently whether 90 per cent female entrepreneurs reported a significant decrease in their sales revenues post-lockdown and that the recovery for women-led MSMEs is also likely to be slower due to low levels of profits and higher rates of unpaid and domestic work.

Rane cited a recent study conducted by the ministry through Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) that assessed the impact of the pandemic on micro units including women-led units set up under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). According to the study, 88 per cent PMEGP beneficiaries had reported a negative impact while the remaining 12 per cent of micro units, which operate in the health and retail sectors, stated that they were benefitted due to Covid.

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Importantly, the government currently doesn’t have the data for the overall number of MSMEs as well closed due to the lockdown measures that also led to a contraction in the economic activity. “This contraction also impacted the MSME sector. However, as MSMEs are present in both formal and informal sector, data regarding temporary or permanent closure of the units are not maintained by the Government of India in Ministry of MSME,” Rane had said in the Rajya Sabha earlier this month. Nonetheless, despite Covid, the minister said 91 per cent MSMEs were found to be functional, citing the findings of an online study conducted by the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) to understand the operational capabilities and difficulties faced by the beneficiaries of NSIC schemes amid Covid.

According to a Parliamentary panel report on Covid impact on MSMEs tabled in Rajya Sabha last week, the stimulus package announced last year for the economic revival post-Covid has been “found to be inadequate as the measures adopted were more of loan offering and long-term measures instead of improving the cash flow to generate demand as immediate relief.” The Committee in its recommendations asked the government to come up with a “larger economic package aimed at bolstering demand, investment, exports, and employment generation to help the economy, including MSMEs.” The government had last year launched the Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) — as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package.