A special meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee, chaired by Finance Minister P.T.R. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, was held on Friday through video-conference.
The government had requested that the meeting be held with the bankers to discuss the need to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have been affected by COVID-19, according to a release.
Role of banks
Stressing the important role of banks in the economy, Mr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said the pandemic had disrupted the economy and affected the lives and livelihoods of people working in the unorganised sector and the MSMEs to a great extent.
The MSMEs were important to the economy as they provided jobs to lakhs of people, he said.
The MSMEs did not have the luxury of restructuring or diversifying like big businesses and were therefore in need of support from banks, he said, urging the banks to focus on extending credit to these units through the schemes of the State and Union governments.
He said the benefits of various relief measures announced by the RBI should reach the beneficiaries.
Collation of data
The Minister also highlighted the importance of collating data pertaining to the disbursement of loans to the MSMEs at more frequent intervals in order to better assess the impact of the support extended to the sector.
He called for creating more awareness of the schemes and relaxations announced by the RBI and the government to support the sector.
State government agencies would also create awareness through multiple channels, he said.
The Finance Minister lauded the banks for their continued efforts through these challenging times. He also highlighted the efforts of the government in combating the second wave of the pandemic.
Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu; Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, S. Krishnan; Secretary, MSME, Arun Roy; Indian Overseas Bank Managing Director P.P. Sengupta; and other officials and bank representatives attended the meeting.