MSMEs struggle to keep themselves afloat

The Medium and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) in Mysuru region are feeling the brunt of the extended lockdown imposed as a measure to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases in the State.

Mysuru, which is an ancillary hub for the automobile sector, is affected by the domino effect of the extended lockdown on both men and material front.

Though the government has stated that manufacturing units of automobiles and components that are used in defence and health sectors can operate with 50 per cent employees or workforce, there are issues related to the availability of manpower, said A.S. Satish, President, Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI)

“The State government has allowed functioning with 50 per cent work force in case of certain industrial units. But workers are staying away from the factory site given the COVID-19 surge and the imperatives of remaining safe in the current situation’’, according to Suresh Kumar Jain, Secretary, Mysore Industries Association (MIA).

While the local workers from Mysuru and surrounding areas are playing it safe, the migrant workforce is not back in full force after the first lockdown. Also, many of those who came back when the first wave ebbed, are returning to their respective States and this is evident in the number of special one-way trains being operated by the railways. As many as 6 trains have been operated so far from Mysuru to Danapur in Bihar between May 1 and 10, as per the railway authorities.

Mr. Jain said many workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have returned to their respective States due to the second extended lockdown and the surge in the number of cases in Karnataka and this has considerably affected the production process.

‘’After the first lockdown the revival was swift and the industrial units had reached 60 per cent of the output of the pre-pandemic days by March. But now we are now back at 30 per cent and are struggling’’, said Mr. Satish.

On the raw material front there are no issues related to transportation. But the issue is of choice and manufacturers are forced to procure whatever is available due to the uncertainty in the market.

“Lack of choice with regard to raw material will have a bearing on cost or quality or both’’, said Mr. Jain. Components have to be procured from either Bengaluru or Coimbatore and it is a chain link in which every one feels the brunt of a delay anywhere along the link.

A case in point is the strict enforcement of the lockdown in Peenya Industrial Area in Bengaluru which has affected the supply of raw materials to Mysuru. A meeting of stakeholders from MSMEs of Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts was held on Wednesday. The issues plaguing the sector was also brought to the attention of the government which has promised to streamline transportation and availability of raw material to the industrial units.

Meanwhile, the MSME council has also resolved to meet frequently so as to keep the government abreast of the issues plaguing the sector and seek solutions so as to help the MSMe units survive in the trying times. There are nearly 25,000 MSMEs in Mysuru district of which about 40 per cent are currently functional, according to stakeholders.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 9:37:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/msmes-struggle-to-keep-themselves-afloat/article34551189.ece

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