NEW DELHI: After drawing flak for telling Parliament that it had no data on the death of migrant labours during the lockdown, the central government on Saturday told Members of Parliament (MPs) that it has no data on the number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that have faced closure during the lockdown period.Replying to a question on how many small and medium businesses closed shop from March to August 2020, the Minister of State for MSMEs Pratap Chandra Sarangi said: “No such record is available.”
However the government admitted that “Covid-19 epidemic has temporarily affected various sectors including micro, small scale enterprises which also affected job scenario”. More interestingly, it went on to add that there was no data on the number of MSMEs closed down from FY 2014-15 to FY 2019-20 either.
However, it listed the measures the government has taken for the sector, including the Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt for MSMEs, Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loans for business, including MSMEs, and Rs 50,000 crore equity infusion through an ‘MSME Fund of Funds’.
According to sources in the ministry of MSMEs, data which was used to address the Covid-induced problems was largely from 2013. “The latest data available on MSMEs is based on the Economic Census of 2013. There was no studies conducted after that to asses the actual number of these units, it’s turnover, all we have is the data of number of registered MSMEs,” senior official said.