Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today told the Lok Sabha that the central ministries as well as central public sector units (PSUs) have been directed to clear bills for services provided by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) within 45 days. On GST relief to MSMEs, Sitharaman said it is for the GST Council to decide on the issue.
"The government is concerned about the MSME dues. The ministry of finance has discussed the matter with the MSME ministry. The pendency is not only on the part of the central ministries and central PSUs. The state governments and state PSUs also have pending dues to the states. The government has asked all the central ministries and PSUs to clear the MSME bills within a period of 45 days," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during question hour in the Lok Sabha today.
MSMEs have been deeply impacted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pendency in bill payment has been one of the issues the sector has been raising ever since the onset of the pandemic.
The industry estimates that Rs 5 lakh crore is due from central and state governments as well as public sector units.
It may be noted that the government as well as the Reserve Bank of India have taken a number of steps in the last one year to handhold MSMEs since the onset of the pandemic. The government announced Rs 3 lakh crore emergency credit line guarantee scheme (ECLGS) as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore COVID-19 stimulus announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May last year.
Last month, the government extended the ECLGS by another Rs 1.5 lakh crore. RBI too has announced a number of liquidity as well loan restructuring schemes for small businesses.
However, a survey done in June this year by the Consortium of Indian Associations pointed out that almost 88 per cent small businesses have not received the benefits announced by the government.
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