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Pandemic-hit MSMEs in Karnataka demand special package for revival

In a repeat of last year’s situation, nearly 20 lakh workers employed in about 8.75 lakh MSMEs are facing the threat of job loss, the association said.

The Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA) has urged the Central and State governments to announce a special package to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as around 40 per cent of them are struggling to survive. In a repeat of last year’s situation, nearly 20 lakh workers employed in about 8.75 lakh MSMEs are facing the threat of job loss, the association said.

Speaking to media persons on Tuesday, KASSIA president K B Arasappa said that even after the relaxation in the lockdown restrictions, the MSMEs are finding it difficult to continue their operations and many of them are on the verge of closure.

The government allowed MSMEs to operate with 50 per cent staff strength, but transportation arrangements are still not done properly and many employees are finding it difficult to return to work. Only around 30 per cent of the staff are working now, he said.

Asking the state government to vaccinate MSME workers on priority, Arasappa pointed out that instead, MLAs and corporators are giving priority to their voters in residential areas. “The industries are taking all precautions and they are not allowing employees who are not vaccinated to work,” he said.

The association has appealed for supportive measures for MSMEs from the Centre and the State wherever applicable, such as waiver of interest on term loans for April to July, six months time for repaying current loan dues, soft loans at 6 per cent, reducing TDS by 50 per cent on all slabs to ease working capital scarcity, repealing limit of 50 per cent staff on small industries as they generally employ only 5-10 employees, cutting petrol and diesel prices and bringing it under GST, and setting up price control commission for moderating the price of steel and other raw materials.

KASSIA also appealed to the State Government to extend the time for payment of electricity charges for April to June without interest and penalty and not just fixed charges, to roll back the latest power hike of 30 paise per unit and postpone property tax payment or reduce it by 50 per cent.