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Revise Atmanirbhar relief package for MSMEs: KTR to Nirmala Sitharaman

Though the Atmanirbhar relief package was announced a year ago, the impact of the package was minimal for the MSME sector, which had really faced the brunt of the pandemic.

It and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, on Thursday, requested Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to reappraise the Atmanirbhar relief package to suit the needs of the MSME sector.

In a letter to the Union Minister, Rama Rao said that it was high time for a sincere reappraisal of the Aatmanirbhar relief package to make it work more realistically and humanely for the most affected constituents, of which MSMEs occupy a top priority.

Though the Atmanirbhar relief package was announced a year ago, the impact of the package was minimal for the MSME sector, which had really faced the brunt of the pandemic. More than 80 per cent of the MSMEs in Telangana faced a negative impact mainly due to the lockdown last year and above 25 per cent had lost significant revenues.

“The most touted and directly targeted scheme for the MSME sector in the package is the Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line Scheme, under which `3 lakh crore had been allotted. In Telangana, the MSME units themselves did not find anything specifically attractive in the scheme. It took us a prolonged outreach campaign to make them avail the benefit,” Rama Rao said. Every MSME had unique challenges and a ‘one size fits all’ kind of scheme was hardly the answer to their requirements, the Industries Minister said. 

He said that the Subordinate Debt scheme for stressed MSMEs offer meagre loan amounts, and had an impractical requirement of establishing commercial viability of the unit before sanctioning of the loan. The guidelines of the Corpus Fund scheme meant for innovative MSMEs has also not been released so far, he pointed out in his letter.

Another component of the Aatmanirbhar relief package which could have potentially impacted the sector positively were the PLI schemes offered to champion sectors. In its present form, it is evident that the scheme would only benefit large manufacturing companies. A simple tweak in the scheme guidelines could benefit the MSMEs enormously, he said.