The 21-day complete lockdown of the nation announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday has caused a lot of anxiety among Indian citizens. One of the worst affected segment are the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
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According to the announcement made by Modi, all manufacturing units with some exceptions (catering to the essential commodities market) will be closed. Small business owners throughout the nation are concerned about the impact this step is going to have on their businesses.
Amidst the uncertainty and concerns arising, All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO), the apex trade body focused on the interests of MSMEs, hailed the step deeming it "absolutely essential" in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
However, the body also urged the government to take steps in order to ensure that the impact on these businesses can be reduced.
It read, "AIMO made a plea to the government that if the right support packages, incentives and measures were not provided to the MSMEs the lockdown could well turn into a shutdown."
Shrikant Dalmia, Zonal Vice President West (AIMO) said, “We would like to acknowledge the steps taken by the Finance Minister regarding the easing of Compliance, which was taken to ease the business situation. Several sectors like automobile, aviation, hospitality, apparel, consumer durables, electronics, hotels, tourism, restaurants and bars, the entertainment industry, airlines, BPOs, seafood and livestock, construction and real estate, transportation are among the worst hit by this epidemic."
There are 64 million MSMEs in India which contribute around 30 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The statement by AIMO emphasised that the closure of manufacturing units and "92 percent drop in domestic sales" has put the industry in "real danger".
So far, the novel coronavirus has killed nine people in India and infected 562, according to the Ministry of Health.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)
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