Former Minister R V Deshpande writes to Finance Minister on economic revival

 Former Minister R V Deshpande writes to Finance Minister on economic revival
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Karwar, April 08: Haliyal MLA and former Minister R V Deshpande has sent a list of suggestions to Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman on economic revival.

The senior Congress leader has held various portfolios and is known as a stalwart. At a time when some opposition leaders are seen only pointing at the government without giving any concrete ideas, Mr. Deshpande has rushed a letter to the finance minister clearly placing his idea of economic revival, especially concerning the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Sector.

“Along with 21 days lockdown, Government of India has also announced various economic relief programs. This may seem extraordinary, but it is far lower than in other large economies. While the government of India has taken leadership in dealing with the health dimension of the crisis, it must also assume an equally serious stance in the economic dimension,” Mr. Deshpande said in his two-page letter.

“MSMEs are deeply hit and they are directly bearing the costs of the shutdown without relief support. The relief measures so far announced by the government is concerned with BPL families only except for the RBI announcement regarding interest rate cut, making available additional credit facilities moratorium on repayments. After the lockdown is over, many industrial units are going to shut or partially open. Unemployment is going to be a major issue, as the MSME sector is a major employment provider. Hence this sector deserves all the help and handholding during this difficult period,” he opined.

He stated that though the Prime Minister has asked the employers to pay a salary to the employees during the lockdown period, it would be difficult for MSMEs.

“Hence for MSME employees covered under ESI (drawing salary below Rs 21,000) may be treated as sick and paid leave during lockdown period and 70 percent salary may be credited to their account. Further, once the unit reopens, reimburse 80 percent of the wages for three months subject to a cap of Rs 12,000 per person,” Mr. Deshpande suggested.

Mr. Deshpande, who had served as Industries Minister for several years, has mentioned in the letter that the Lockdown period has to be treated as ‘Zero Period,’ and no interest should be charged for the loan availed as loan amount could not be deployed for productive purpose.

The former minister has also suggested to wave off interest for six months and reschedule all repayment of loans to payments due from March-September 2020 to the end of the repayment period and allow companies to file an extended year April 2019 to June 30, 2020, ITR and pay tax on that basis.

“The government should wave off all taxes to local bodies, fixed charges on electrical installations, property tax, etc for next 6 months and also waive off all penalties for failure in compliance like GST, PF, ESI, TDS, etc during lockdown period,” he added.

Mr. Deshpande has asked the MSME Ministry to set up a Control Room/ Helpline numbers to address issues instantly and help the industries at the time of crisis.

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