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Industry associations seek representation in proposed expert panel for MSME revival

Industry associations here are hopeful that the decision of the State government to constitute an expert committee to formulate schemes for revival of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises will pave way for infusion of vibrancy into the ailing fabrication sector.

Known for decades as one of the prominent fabrication hubs in Asia, the industrial units under MSME purview in the region have been turning sick over the last few years due to a combination of factors such as setback in the order position for BHEL, impact of COVID-19 and general slowdown in the economy.

For long, the small and medium scale industries in the region have been seeking a special financial package for extricating themselves from a state of collapse.

Referring to Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s statement in the Assembly that an expert committee consisting of industrialists, banking and financial experts and government officials will be constituted to formulate schemes for revival of MSMEs, representatives of industry associations believe the government will form the committee with members drawn from the small and medium scale industries’ associations.

“The move to form an expert committee is a welcome development. Having representatives of industries in the MSME sector will be ideal to solve problems industries are facing in the short and long run. We have requested the government to give representation to BHEL Small Industries’ Association in the proposed expert committee in consideration of prominence of Tiruchi region for fabrication and machining,”" association president Rajappa Rajkumar said.

The MSME policy 2021 recognises small and medium scale industries as the biggest employer after agriculture in the country. One of the strategic initiatives underlying Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 is to boost creation and sustenance of several MSME clusters across the State, the MSME 2021 policy document states.

While the formation of the expert committeee to accord a thrust to MSME sector is a step in right direction, the purpose it will serve will, for sure, depend on the choice of members, R. Ilango, president of Tiruchi District Tiny and Small Industries Association said. “Our immediate need is interest-free loans and moratorium for payment of existing loans.”

In the prevailing scenario, small and medium industries find themselves in a piquant situation of sourcing more funds for survival. But the intended purpose of revival of financial health will not be served if the quantum of debt-servicing keeps rising,.

Also, the State and Central Governments must seriously consider the necessity to pay workers half the salary for the duration of complete lockdown, through the Employees' State Insurance Corporation.

Another factor confronting the manufacturing units is the billing method for power consumption. “The levy of fixed charges even in the absence of demand has hit the industries very hard,” Mr. Ilango added.