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Last updated: 14 Sep, 2020  

Industry.9.4.Thmb.jpg Small business confidence

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Bikky Khosla | 14 Sep, 2020

The Union Minister for MSMEs last week said that the government is committed to increase the contribution of the sector to GDP from about 30 percent to 50 percent and to exports from 49 percent to 60 percent. He added that the Centre is also trying to make the best of the sector’s employment generation prowess, with an objective of creating 5 crore additional jobs in the sector which presently employs about 11 crore people. Sounds great, although the current situation seems challenging.

The MSME sector itself seems to be no less enthusiastic about the future. According to a recent survey report, while two-thirds of respondents believe that the present situation is a good opportunity to reformulate their business strategy, half of the total respondents believe that the pandemic will ultimately bring opportunity in the longer term. Over 73 percent of Indian SMEs are confident that they will survive and bounce back post Covid-19. Of course, it sounds quite convincing for a sector that is always known for agility and flexibility.

Meanwhile, according to latest figures, banks have sanctioned loans worth over Rs 1.63 lakh crore to MSMEs and other eligible businesses so far under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS). It added that an amount of Rs 1,18,138.64 crore has been disbursed to 25,01,999 borrowers as on 10.09.2020. Additionally, as on August 28, 2020, Rs 25,000 crore has been disbursed under the Rs 30,000 crore Additional Emergency Working Capital Funding for farmers.

However, the confidence does not seem high in the trading community, which comprises nearly 7 crore units, employing more than 40 crore people. According to a report, presently only 7 percent of traders are able to obtain institutional finance. More importantly, 25 percent small shops and businesses in the country, totalling 1.75 crore, are on the verge of closure. This situation is alarming. It seems a comprehensive economic package can give our traders a much-needed relief in this difficult time.

I invite your opinions.

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