Need for urgent government intervention to support the MSME sector: FICCI and Industry Representatives

New Delhi: FICCI jointly with UNDP, Facebook, Josh Talks and Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship, today organised a webinar to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs and business continuity in India.

Addressing the webinar, Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI urged the government to support the MSME sector which has been severely impacted by Covid-19. She said that the world has changed due to the crisis and we must focus on preserving the jobs and businesses.

“There are around 110 million people in MSMEs who are affected due to Covid-19. We need to give them interest free, collateral free loans and guaranteed by the government. For companies with less than Rs 500 crores turnover, this should be given for minimum 6 months and hopefully for 12 months,” said Dr Reddy.

She added that the current crisis is a big opportunity for MSMEs and it will be helpful only if MSMEs survive. “MSME sector needs envision, partner, train, handholding, and support which will help create a vibrant sector. The entrepreneurship, skillset and hard work of this sector are India’s biggest strength and we should ride on that strength,” Dr Reddy added.

Mr Ravi Venkatesan, Founder, GAME said that many of the companies have started adapting to the crisis so better run companies are taking all prudent steps. “Post crisis, these companies will emerge more resilient.”

He added that capital is going to be precious and we need to protect workers. “We need to use this crisis into opportunity in order to start businesses. We need to create massive wave of entrepreneurship,” said Mr Venkatesan.

Mr Sanjay Bhatia, President, FICCI CMSME Committee, said that government is trying to balance the lives and livelihood. “It is important in the short-term to preserve the business. There is a loss of skill today due to migrant labours. MSMEs need more of short-term measures than long-term,” he said.

Ms Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India, stressed upon the need to have a new business model with sustainability, climate change and focus on women entrepreneurs. “If we incorporate them in business, we will become much more resilient towards the society,” she said.

Ms Noda added that in India, over 14 percent of the MSMEs are owned by women which has the potential to grow further. “The new eco-system gives more opportunities to women entrepreneurs to enter into business,” she said.

The webinar was moderated by Mr Gaurav Gupta, Partner and Regional Director for Asia, Dalberg and over 3,000 people attended and watched the live webinar.