Union Minister of Trade and Industry Piyush Goyal has said that the Rs 3 lakh crore credit guarantee facility was extended to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Initiative Self-sufficient India), a relief of Rs 20 lakh crore.The package recently announced by the government to alleviate the economic distress caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), would also include traders.
The minister said that most stores, regardless of whether they supply essential or non-essential goods, across the country have been allowed to open amid concerns over difficulties faced by retailers, despite easing of closure restrictions nationwide.
“The decision to open the remaining stores in the shopping centers will be made shortly after taking into account the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” said an official statement on Friday, citing Goyal’s meeting with representatives of merchant associations via a video conferencing facility the night before.
Goyal said merchants are eligible for easy loans under the stimulus package. “Changes made to the definition of the MSME sector will also help them,” said an official statement on Friday.
HT had reported on Tuesday that export units, commercial companies and hospitality companies could also take advantage of the Rs 3 lakh crore credit line offered to MSMEs under the stimulus package even if they are not registered as MSMEs, but comply. with the eligibility criteria.
The minister said that several indicators show that the economic recovery is on the anvil. “Energy consumption in May is almost on par with the corresponding period last year,” he said.
Exports, which fell almost 60% in April, have started to show an upward trend and preliminary figures indicate that the fall in May would be less, he said.
Exports of services had also increased in April. He indicated that more than the fall in merchandise exports, imports showed a more pronounced fall in April, reducing the trade deficit.
Goyal said that during the lockdown period, the nation prepared to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and increased its capabilities. “The national manufacture of personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizers, hand gloves was promoted, the health infrastructure was expanded and awareness was raised among the people,” the statement said, citing the minister.
The Aarogya Setu app was developed during the period, serving as a shield, friend and messenger during such a crisis, the minister said.
“The Prime Minister has made timely and correct decisions, and the people have followed them, they have helped the country, since we are in a better position compared to many other nations in the world, with more resources and a smaller population.” added.
Goyal told merchants not to feel threatened by the e-commerce giant, as ordinary people have now realized the importance of neighborhood kirana stores in this hour of crisis.
He said the government is working on a mechanism to facilitate B-2-B (business to business) for retailers so that they can expand their scope of operations. He also assured merchants to investigate pending issues such as term loans and that the matter will be discussed with the Ministry of Finance to find a solution.
Goyal called on merchants to use, promote and support indigenous products, which is relevant to the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.