What MSMEs expect from Budget 2021 and other top stories of the week

Budget 2021 is set to be presented tomorrow by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Indian businesses and MSMEs are looking forward to it like never before.

Addressing the CII Partnership Summit in 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam said that Budget 2021 will be like the one presented “never before”. She also said that 100 years of India would not have seen a Budget like this post-pandemic period. 

COVID-19 shook the Indian economy tremendously where business entrepreneurs found it hard to thrive and survive the time of lockdown and even after its upliftment. With the upcoming Budget 2021, Indian business ecosystem stakeholders are expecting relief measures to tide through the difficult times.

Budget 2021: 10 things the Indian MSME ecosystem is expecting

According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat rests on the twin principles of scale and standards. "Today, the world is our market. The people of India have the ability. The world trusts India as a nation with credibility," he said, in a LinkedIn post in early January 2021, asserting that India wanted to make good quality products that are admired globally. 

To this end, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised a "never before" like Budget to steer the pandemic-battered economy and push for growth.    

Addressing the CII Partnership Summit 2020, she said, "Send me your inputs so that we can see a Budget, which is a Budget like never before, in a way. 100 years of India wouldn't have seen a Budget being made post-pandemic like this.”   

With expectations sky-high, especially for the badly-hit MSME sector, the stakeholders expects revised GST rates for IT products and services, empower agencies to allow MSME growth, bring Ayurveda under Ayushman Bharat, increase consumption, not to ignore MSMEs working with large enterprises, boost rural enterprise, weed out fake bills, among others.

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Why Indian MSMEs are looking forward to this budget

To say 2020 has been tough is an understatement. When the novel coronavirus was still ‘novel’ in many ways, PM Modi addressed the nation and said the way to tackle the virus would be for the country to go into lockdown.

Overnight, businesses were shuttered, people were left with no work, and worse, with no money. Everyone was hit hard, but smaller organisations faced adverse impact. Medium, small, and micro-enterprises (MSMEs) paid a heavy price.

The sector was hit hard with labour disruption, demand slowdown, and supply shortfall. According to reports, this resulted in a 20 to 50 percent hit on MSME earnings. Remember, this is a sector that accounts for over 30 percent of the GDP. So, if MSMEs bleed, the country’s economy is bound to suffer.

The upcoming Budget is likely to be a challenging exercise as the Finance Minister will have to take into account existing issues, and those brought about by the COVID-19. MSMEs are hoping the Budget 2021 will relieve them of some of the issues dogging them.

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Another top pick of the week


India’s online education system got a shot in the arm when the COVID-19-induced lockdown shut schools and colleges for months on end. Although the edtech sector in the country was booming with learning apps like BYJU’S, Vedantu, Cuemath, and others leading the space, it was still a long road to get students habituated to digital classrooms, and schools to follow an electronic operating model.  

In the last one year, the new normal in the education sector has changed the way students and teachers operate. 

“The edtech sector has now matured, and the future is promising as the primary consumers — both parents and students — have started experiencing edtech products fully. They are now the drivers,” says Ajay Sakhamuri, Founder, MyClassboard.  

Founded in 2010 in Hyderabad, MyClassboard (MCB) is a SaaS-based school management software that offers a suite of features like all-in-one school ERP, a comprehensive learning management system for all educational boards, and a school supplies marketplace. 

Ajay says that even though MCB has remained profitable since inception, the demand for its product was not up to his expectation. However, post the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, the demand skyrocketed and since March 2020, MCB saw a surge in school sign-ups and has since served over 2.6 million online classes. 

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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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