Traders are also eligible for credit benefits under Aatmanirbhar package: Goyal
Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has said that the Rs 3 lakh crore credit guarantee facility extended to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Initiative), a Rs 20 lakh crore relief package recently announced by the government to ease the economic distress caused by the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, would also include traders.
The minister said that a majority of shops – irrespective of supplying essential or non-essential goods -- across the country have been allowed to open amid concerns over hardships faced by retail traders, despite the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions.
“The decision to open the remaining shops in the malls will be taken soon after taking into account the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,” an official statement said on Friday, quoting Goyal’s meeting with the representatives of traders’ associations via a video-conference facility the previous evening.
Goyal said traders are eligible to access easy loans under the stimulus package. “The changes made in the definition of the MSME sector will also help them,” an official statement said on Friday.
HT had reported on Tuesday that export units, trading firms, and hospitality ventures could also tap the Rs 3 lakh crore credit facility offered to MSMEs under the stimulus package even if they are not registered as MSMEs, but meet the eligibility criteria.
The minister said that several indicators show that the economic recovery is on the anvil. “The power consumption in May is almost at par with the corresponding period last year,” he said.
Exports, which declined by almost 60% in April, have started showing an upward trend, and the preliminary figures indicate that the decline in May would be lesser, he said.
The services exports had gone up in April as well. He indicated that more than the fall in merchandise exports, the imports showed a sharper decline in April, lowering the trade deficit.
Goyal said during the lockdown period, the nation geared itself to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and ramped up its capacities. “The domestic manufacturing of the personal protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitisers, hand gloves got a boost, health infrastructure was scaled up, and awareness was generated among the people,” the statement said quoting the minister.
Aarogya Setu application was developed during the period, which acts as a shield, friend and messenger during such a crisis, the minister said.
“Timely and correct decisions have been taken by the Prime Minister, and adhered to by the people, have helped the country, as we’re in a better position compared to many other nations of the world, with more resources and lesser population,” he added.
Goyal told traders not to feel threatened by the e-commerce juggernaut, as the common person has now realised the importance of neighbourhood kirana stores in this hour of crisis.
He said the government is working on a mechanism to facilitate B-2-B (business to business) for retail traders so that they can expand their ambit of operations. He also assured the traders to look into pending issues such as term loans and the matter would be taken up with the finance ministry to find a solution.
Goyal called upon the traders to use, promote, and support indigenous goods, which is germane to the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.