A new realisation for the countries, across developed as also emerging economies, is the need to embrace a self-fulfilling and circular architecture that promotes, re-invigorates and nurtures self-reliance. A key ingredient of such architecture will invariably be laying pathways that seamlessly bind and connect pivots that take MSMEs to new and stable highs.
In this context, the Budget announcements today ride high on building bridges that ensure the availability of adequate and timely credit to MSMEs as envisioned through enhancing corpus of CGTMSE by Rs 9000 crore, enabling additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore.
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Further, the cost of the credit will be reduced by about 1%, giving huge cost savings to eligible entities.
Facilitating Vivad se Vishwas for a robust business environment, in cases of failure by MSMEs to execute contracts during the Covid period, 95% of the forfeited amount relating to bid or performance security will be returned to them by the government and government undertakings, which should provide relief to MSMEs.
To settle contractual disputes of the government and government undertakings, wherein arbitral award is under challenge in a court, a voluntary settlement scheme with standardised terms will be introduced. This will be done by offering graded settlement terms depending on pendency level of the dispute.
Building on the success of the Aspirational Districts Programme, the government has also launched the Aspirational Blocks Programme covering 500 blocks for the saturation of essential services across multiple domains such as health, nutrition, education, agriculture, water resources and basic infrastructure.
This should also build a solid lynchpin for MSMEs to leverage the opportunities and gain scale with little time lag.
For centuries, traditional artisans have brought renown for India. They are generally referred to as Vishwakarma. The art and handicraft created by them represents the true spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
For the first time, a package of assistance, PM VIKAS scheme for them has been conceptualised. This will enable them improve the quality, scale and reach of their products. The scheme should bring scores of artisans in the value chain through adequate financial support, access to advanced skill training, knowledge of modern digital techniques, efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with local and global markets and social security. The success of this scheme can sure be replicated in other sectors. This will greatly benefit the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, women and people belonging to weaker sections.
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The digital ecosystem for skilling will be further expanded with the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform linking with employers. Among other notable initiatives is the creation of a digital public infrastructure for agriculture. This will enable six inclusive farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services for crop planning and health, improved access to farm inputs, credit and insurance, help for crop estimation, market intelligence and support for growth of agri-tech industry and start-ups. It will help the banks in rolling out end-to-end digital solutions using analytical models and substantially reduce cost of operations. The savings can be passed on to farmers by lowering lending rates.
The writer is Chairman, State Bank of India