80% SMBs insecure about future: CIA survey

K E Raghunathan

Chennai: Eighty per cent of Self-employed and Micro/ Small Businesses (SMBs) across India feel insecure about the future following Covid-1 and 2 lockdowns, states a survey by Consortium of Indian Associations (CIA).

Findings of the survey by CIA and its 40 partner-SMB associations were released on Thursday. The survey covered more than 81,000 self-employed, micro/small businesses (SMBs) from across India, the CIA said.

About 88 per cent of the respondents expressed that the stimulus package announced in the last 15 months did not reach them and that they were not considered for support. The government of India has introduced three stimulus packages in the last 13 months.

“Over the past year, CIA has provided vital suggestions and modifications required on several initiatives taken by the Central and State governments for the benefit of MSMEs. As a result, we realised that a data-backed survey would help consolidate the feedback from this sector, to bring out the pain points and provide solutions and a way forward to revive the sector,” said K E Raghunathan, convenor of CIA and former national president of All India Manufacturers’ Organisation.

The survey said 73 per cent of SMBs have not made any profit during FY20; 42 per cent were unable to decide on retention of employees; 59 per cent reduced/sacked/removed their staff compared to the pre-Covid period (first wave: 37 per cent; second wave: 22 per cent), and 82 per cent felt that the Central and State governments were not looking after their interests.

The report presented three-pronged ideas, exempt from statutory compliances, protection of SMBs from the high-interest burden and support by giving liberal loans, for the government to adopt in its approach towards SMBs.

To ensure that proper attention is given to the issues specific to this sector, the report suggests there should be a separate SMB Ministry for the self-employed and micro/small businesses.

 

NT Bureau