Bengal Inc lauds special package to revive economy

Kolkata: The industry bodies and leading businessmen in West Bengal on Wednesday lauded the financial package and policy interventions announced by the Centre, to revive the country’s economy, which has been severely hit due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

The turnover-based definition of MSMEs has addressed a long pending demand and extended the benefits to a large number of companies, city-based Indian Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Rs 3 lakh crore of collateral-free loans for small businesses, a cut in the tax rate for non-salary payments and measures to provide liquidity to non-banking companies to help them tide over the disruptions caused by the lockdown.

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“The Rs 3 lakh crore government guaranteed loans to the liquidity-starved MSMEs would go a long way in stabilising and strengthening the sector,” the industry body said.

The power distribution companies, which are facing unprecedented cash flow problem, will be benefited from the emergency liquidity injection to the tune of Rs 90,000 crore, it said.

City-based Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce president Vivek Gupta also hailed the Centre for new defenition of MSMEs.

“Hope MSMEs will be fully able to extract benefits from the implementing institutions,” he said.

Bandhan Bank MD and CEO, C S Ghosh, said, “The special liquidity and partial credit guarantee schemes for NBFCs, HFCs and MFIs will ultimately benefit the end consumers, many of who are in the rural and semi-urban areas.”

Praising the stimulus package, Village Financial Services MD and CEO Kuldip Maity said the microfinance institutions have been facing a tough time due to significant cash flow issues.

“The liquidity infusion measures will help combat the rising stress in the sector and eventually, cater to the needy borrowers who are in search of emergency loans to resume their business operations,” he said.

Welcoming the package unveiled by the Centre, Engineering Export Promotion Council of India Chairman Ravi Sehgal said, “Infusion of liquidity through debt and even equity into the MSMEs is a major step forward.”

Real estate developers on Wednesday said the government’s decision to extend the timeline of completion of projects by six months will provide much needed relief to the industry but sought more measures to improve liquidity, reduce input cost and boost housing demand.

Credai West Bengal President Sushil Mohta appreciated the declaration of Covid-19 as “Force Majure” that will give the “real estate sector some breather”.

“The sector is very important for restarting the economic activities. There is much more to be done. We are expecting a reduction in interest rates,” Mohta said.

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