Ahead of polls, relief sought for MSMEs

The Consortium of Indian Associations (CIA) has urged all parties in the State to consider a range of relief measures for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), ahead of the upcoming Assembly election next year.

“Efforts are being made by the present government to bring new business entities from other States and countries into Tamil Nadu but much more needs to be done for MSMEs/entrepreneurs based in the State,” according to a statement issued by K.E. Raghunathan, convenor, CIA.

COVID-19 has affected Tamil Nadu the most and it was the only State that implemented strict lockdown guidelines, and even till September, there were restrictions on travelling between districts and from other States. Public transport, too, was not allowed to function for the first half of the financial year, he said.

Most entrepreneurs based in the State, be it in the service, trading, manufacturing or export sectors, could not commence operations, and lost work for almost six months. In fact, only a few could do well in September and October due to the festival season, Mr. Raghunathan said.

He estimated that over 35% MSMEs in the State were struggling to survive, and could not avail any stimulus extended by the Centre, which was predominantly for long-term benefits, except the ECGLS scheme, in which a major share of disbursal is from Tamil Nadu, indicating the desperation.

Warning that the State would face severe unemployment problems and closure of many units if the current trend continued, the consortium urged all parties to consider a slew of relief measures in their manifestos.

The measures sought included waiving of taxes such as property tax, water tax and professional tax for the next two years; mandating procurement from local companies in the State for up to ₹100 crore; additional loans by the State government for MSMEs, with guarantees, and abolition of fixed tariff on electricity connections, among others.

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