Bikky Khosla | 06 Feb, 2023
The eagerly awaited Union Budget 2023 was tabled in the
Parliament last week. Overall, it seems to be a balanced Budget, amid tough global
economic condition, with inflation and rising interest rates hitting several
major economies in the world. Of course, India is being touted as to be the
global bright spot, but several challenges are still facing the domestic
economy as well, and in the background of this the Budget seems to be a well
thought-out and not a populist one.
Ahead of the Budget, our MSME sector
raised several demands, and although the budgetary announcements failed to
address them all, there are several proposals that deserve mention. Most
notably, the decision to revamp the credit guarantee scheme
for MSMEs is a welcome one. The new scheme will come to effect from April 1 and
infusion of Rs 9000 crore will result in additional collateral-free guaranteed
credit of Rs 2 lakh crore as well as reduction in cost of credit by 1 percent.
In another welcome step, the Budget comes with an
innovative solution to address the delayed payment challenge facing the sector.
It was announced that the government will now allow expense deduction by the
buyers only when payments are actually made. The MSME Samadhan scheme failed to
help the sector much, but now buyers will not be able to claim deduction
without paying – a measure which is expected to ensure timely payments to MSMEs.
The MSME sector also hailed the proposal to set up a
National Financial Information Registry for creating a robust information system
for the sector. It is also encouraging that the Finance Minister extended the
benefits of presumptive taxation to micro-enterprises with a turnover of
up to Rs 2 crore. However, while these measures are welcome, they
hardly seem to be enough, particularly considering the plethora of problems plaguing
the sector which contributes a third of GDP and half of the country’s exports
to the economy.
I invite your opinions.