Chief Minister M.K. Stalin wrote to 12 Chief Ministers on Tuesday calling upon them to once again come together to press for a moratorium on loan repayment for MSMEs and small businesses impacted by the second wave of COVID-19.
In letters to his counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal, Mr. Stalin said in April-May last year, when the nationwide lockdown was announced by the Centre, a moratorium was offered on repayment of loans for such borrowers. “However, in April-June this year, when lockdown was imposed based on local conditions by the respective States, similar relief to borrowers is not being provided for. I have taken up this issue with the Government of India with a request to provide a moratorium on repayment of loans. I request all the States to write to both the Union Finance Minister and the Governor, Reserve Bank of India, to prevail upon them to offer moratorium on repayment of loans for at least the first two quarters of 2021-2022 to all small borrowers with outstanding up to ₹5 crore in view of the lockdown induced by the second wave of COVID-19,” Mr. Stalin said.
Pointing out that the MSMEs and small businesses were the mainstay of the economy and employment generation, Mr. Stalin said the absence of such relief measures would force many businesses to close, and this would lead to widespread economic distress.
Calling upon the Chief Ministers to show their collective strength and to actively take up the issue with the Centre, Mr. Stalin said all State governments should come together “on the pressing issue of asymmetry in treatment of borrowers, particularly MSME units and small borrowers”.
He took a dig at the Centre’s earlier policy on vaccination, where it shifted the responsibility to procure and administer vaccines to the State governments, and said the collective efforts of the State governments forced the Centre to reverse that policy.