The small industries body Kassia said the Rs 20 lakh crore package will go a long way towards boosting the MSME sector. “We were pleasantly surprised and there were many positives,” said R Raju, president, KASSIA. One key demand of the industry was to classify MSME not just based on turnover, but also investment. That has been done. “Another positive is that for all government tenders below Rs 200 crore, the domestic market will be the first preference for manufacturing and it will not be a global tender. That will certainly help ‘Make in India.’
The EPF reduction to 10% from 12% will also prove enormously beneficial,” Raju said. Their only disappointment was that nothing was said on reduction of interest rates on loans for MSMEs.
The Karnataka Employers’ Association (KEA), which also represents smaller and medium businesses, described the package as meticulous and detailed and certain to boost the industry. “This will be beneficial to both employees and employers,” said B C Prabhakar, president, KEA. But Devesh Agarwal, president of the Bangalore Chamber of Industry & Commerce (BCIC) said the `Atmanirbhar package’ would be inadequate to save industry from the “dark times ahead.” He said the lockdown had left the entire business community bereft of cash.
“Till the government does not issue mandatory directions to banks and financial institutions to lend to MSMEs instead of deploying funds into markets and government securities, we are looking at a dark future,” he said. BCIC also urged the government to utilise the ESI funds to provide unemployment benefits to workers and to defer payment of GST/VAT/TDS for businesses for 6-9 months to improve cash flow.