BENGALURU: As many micro, small and medium enterprises struggle to survive, Karnataka Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar said that there is tangible help coming from the government. He assured them that the economic stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would help them breathe easy. “The number of industries that have started again across the state is just about 25-30 per cent and this is bound to increase after the stimulus,” he told The New Sunday Express.
What is the government doing to help MSMEs ?
There are about 6.5 lakh micro, small and medium industries which are registered and about 2 lakh very small units which are unregistered. Any unit with one or two workers can be a micro industry. The PM has announced a package of Rs 20 lakh crore and out of that amount Rs 3 lakh crore is specially set apart for industries. We will try to facilitate all that the Union Government is offering to benefit the maximum number of industries. For example, the banks are offering credit to industries without additional collateral; the instalments are payable after one year and there are many other benefits. The fine print will come in today or tomorrow. The industries secretary, representatives from industries and banks will hold a meeting to take this forward in two days’ time.
It is no secret that many MSMEs have shut shop, and many of the existing ones are in pain over the issue of disbursing salaries, rentals, paying taxes and paying interest to banks. Is the government doing anything to alleviate their distress?
Let us take the specifics. If there is an issue of liquidity to pay salaries, they can pay it by taking a loan which has been provided for. As far as rentals are concerned, it is not a big problem as most of the industries have come up on own land. As for Provident Fund, the government pays 50 per cent. But if an employee earns less than Rs 15,000, the government pays the entire amount. As far as power tariffs are concerned, I spoke to CM B S Yediyurappa and power bills for two months have been waived. For larger industries also there is a relief in the power bills that have been worked out.
As Covid-19 rages on, many industries are seeking to relocate to Karnataka?
We are ready to allocate land to any industry showing interest and meeting the eligibility criteria. We have information that there are hundreds of companies and industries that are coming in from different parts of the world to India. I have set up a task force under the leadership of the Chief Secretary, representatives of other countries-- like S Korea, Japan, the USA -- who figure in this. Most will ask for land around Bengaluru. But we are telling them about tier-two cities where land and labour are cheaper. Infrastructurally, North Karnataka centres like Hubballi, Belagavi and Kalaburagi are good for development.
The Global Investors Meet is planned for November, but you normally prepare six months in advance. Will GIM take a hit ?
It was originally planned for November 3-4-5. The first GIM brought in Rs 2.5 lakh crore commitments and in the natural course we would have worked towards it. But since we are taking a break due to the coronavirus, everything has been deferred like foreign tours and road shows. We are keeping every strategy to attract investments on hold. As things stand, holding GIM in November will be difficult. We will take a call in June or July after assessing the corona situation.
Opposition says that the State Government coffers are empty. How will you support industries ?
The government is doing its best under the challenging Covid-19 situation. We are doing all we can like credit facilities being offered to industries, power tariffs being waived and many other reliefs.