Unlock 1 has not buoyed up small industries

But for the partial restoration of public transport services that has made travel easier and hassle free for workers, the measures envisaging revival of economy during the COVID-19 lockdown have otherwise meant precious little for the small industries in the region.

Though the current phase of reopening, christened Unlock 1, is purported to have an economic focus, small industries say there is absolutely nothing to feel happy about.

For instance, the industries are not able to deploy their full workforce since the work orders are quite limited.

“The workers continue to be engaged on a turn system, as there is nothing much to be done. The economic stimulus is not likely to happen until there is some extent of cash flow in the form of easy access to additional loan at less interest,” R. Ilango, president of Tiruchi District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association said.

Last month, the Central Government notified the ₹3 lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme for Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to extricate the small scale industries from economic distress.

The measure was meant to facilitate small industries to secure an additional 20% of the loan outstanding from banks. Borrowers will have a one-year moratorium on repayment, and the interest rate will be capped at 9.25%. Small industries with over dues of up to 60 days are eligible to take these loans.

However, what the industries look for at this juncture is a reduction in the interest rates for existing loans, and interest-free or nominal interest loans, along with a moratorium for repayment, in order to revive production activities in the real sense of the term. Till then, under-utilisation of the capacity was inevitable, Mr. Ilango said.

It is still early to expect industrial activities to gather the desired momentum. Complete restoration of transport services is a requisite. For now, the operations are being carried out with manpower from the surroundings, said Kabir Ahmed, general manager of Five Star Industries at Mathur Industrial Estates in Pudukottai district.

More than the manufacturing units in the MSME sector that have been functioning amid constraints of the slump in work orders from BHEL, the lifting of lockdown restrictions has helped units in IT and ITES sector to deploy maximum strength of manpower, G. Raveendran, General Manager of District Industries Centre, said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 9:41:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/unlock-1-has-not-buoyed-up-small-industries/article31749746.ece

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