Bikky Khosla | 21 Dec, 2021
How has the pandemic impacted our MSMEs? The issue was
raised last week on the floor of the Parliament, citing findings of a NSIC
survey, according to which 91 percent of MSMES were functional and 9 percent of
MSMES had closed down due to the impact of COVID-19. Interestingly, we raised
this issue in August this year, stressing the urgency of extending a helping
handing to the sector.
There is not an iota of doubt that Covid-19 hit the
MSME sector hard, and the findings of the NSIC survey shed light on some key
challenges rising due to the pandemic, including issues related to liquidity,
fresh orders, labour, logistics and availability of raw material. But the
survey covered only around 5,774 MSMES, and therefore a far more comprehensive
study is required, rather than a political hullabaloo, in this regard.
Meanwhile, a more recent study, conducted by ILO,
covering 1525 MSME unit-owners and 3111 workers in three states -- Maharashtra,
Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh—found that during the survey in October 2020, 63
percent of the enterprises were still facing the impact of the lockdown, only
about 40 percent of the surveyed enterprises had accessed some government
support, and 45 percent of the enterprises laid off workers either temporarily or
These findings again bring to the forth the massive
challenges facing the MSME sector, but one must not forget that Covid-19 is an
unprecedented health crisis we have never experienced before, and, as a result
of fighting against it—successfully-- the economy has also suffered like never
before. Now it requires some time to mend the economy and its sectors, including
MSMEs, and we will for sure rise to this challenge again, if the government continues
its efforts tirelessly.
I invite your opinions.