In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Government initiated a multitude of incentives to be dispersed to the qualified Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country. Announced by the Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman on May 13th, these incentivized relief packages are targeted towards providing much-needed assistance to the businesses in surviving the repercussions that this pandemic has brought along with it.

MSMEs employ a major portion of the country’s working population, especially the economically weaker areas. These relief packages are meant to provide them with a solid ground to avoid bankruptcy, and the competency to still pay the salaries and wages to their employees. This was further assisted by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Home Affairs, who issued an advisory and order respectively to still pay the salaries of the employees during the lockdown.

Financial Relief Packages for MSMEs

Let’s take a closer look at what these relief packages are and how they are supposed to help MSMEs.

Loans

Automatic Loans for MSMEs were a major highlight of the relief packages. Under Automatic Loans, the MSMEs will have the following advantages:

Taxes and Provident Funds

There were some major rollbacks provided by the Finance Ministry for employers and employees alike for 

Glass Half Full or Empty?

Digging deeper into the relief packages offered by the Finance Ministry, it becomes clear that the idea is solid, but lost amidst the big numbers. There are over 5 crore MSMEs (registered or unregistered) in India, and the relief packages offer eligibility to only 45 lakh of them, which is a mere 6%. 

According to The Print, the government failed to provide payroll support to MSMEs. Moreover, the government also sanctioned loans instead of directly transferring money to MSMEs, which was the result of the government focusing on liquidity rather than direct transfer. There is a possibility that this might result in MSMEs being unwilling to return the loans taken under this scheme.

 

Conclusion

 

Regardless of the fact that the government’s actions for providing relief to MSMEs weren’t swift, it did deliver in coming up with schemes that can majorly assist in preventing an economic downfall due to the pandemic. It is reasonable for MSMEs to be less content with the structure/benefits of the relief packages, but these packages can prove to be a source of vital assistance to help keep their business running amidst the complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The most frequent problems that business owners face are to do with accounting & regulatory compliance. Entrepreneurs view time invested in doing both as unproductive time.

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