Ahead of the Assembly election, the Chief Minister has rolled out a policy for the MSME sector which has been grappling with various issues over the last five years. Though industrial estates said they welcomed the policy, many were sceptical about the targets and strategies listed in it. Some even said there could have been a little more detailing to solve the immediate crisis. A few associations pointed out that they were not consulted while this policy was formulated, while another section of the MSMEs was wondering whether the same structure would be followed in case of a change in government after the election.
K.E. Raghunathan, convener, Consortium of Indian Associations, who has been highlighting the issues and challenges faced by the sector, said, “While we certainly appreciate the various announcements in terms of creation of infrastructure, financial subsidies, social security support and employment generation, some of the proposed schemes are an extension of what is being offered by the Central government.”
“Expectations of support to MSMEs affected by COVID-19, such as an additional moratorium for repayment of loan EMIs, additional loans for those not covered under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme of the Central government, setting up of raw material ration shops at industrial parks and fair price shops for MSMEs are missing in this document,” he said.
Mr. Raghunathan said most of the announcements required at least two to three years to fructify. With the election due in the next two months, the question of who will form the next government remains open, thus raising concerns over continuity.
The new policy is aimed at attracting investments worth ₹2,00,000 crore by 2025 and creating jobs for over 20 lakh persons. “It is interesting to read what was printed in the document but it would take a year or two for the MSMEs to tide over the current crisis, and we are yet to get back to the pre-COVID-19 level. The State could have doled out some incentives to the existing MSMEs,” said the owner of a unit in Chennai.
Many micro units felt the policy had nothing specific for them.
“Any policy for MSMEs does not address the requirements and challenges of micro units,” said J. James, president of the Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Tiny Enterprises.
R. Selvam, secretary of Thirumudivakkam Industrial Estate Manufacturers Association, said, “We really appreciate the government’s intention of bringing about transparency in the SIDCO land allotment through an online workflow system.We hope the overall upgrade of the existing industrial estates will be given top priority in order to improve the basic infrastructure, which is lagging in many of the SIDCO estates.”
The Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association hailed the creation of six new industrial estates through SIDCO. Its president S. Anburajan said the allocation of funds for the infrastructure of the estates was welcome.