Millions of MSMEs have benefitted from Govt-backed relief schemes such as the ECLGS: Ram Nath Kovind

The President also noted that, in a short time, India has proven its mettle as a self-reliant nation by manufacturing and supplying numerous PPE kits and ventilators in India and abroad.
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Ahead of Budget 2021 slated to be announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, India's President Ram Nath Kovind pointed to how government-backed policies like the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Schemes (ECLGS) provided much-needed relief to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.

In his address to the houses of Parliament on Friday as part of the Budget session, he said, "Efforts such as the Rs 3 lakh crore rupee emergency credit (line) guarantee scheme, the ₹20,000 crore special scheme for the stranded MSMEs (micro small and medium enterprises) and the Fund of Funds have benefitted millions of small entrepreneurs."

The President in his speech also noted that the coronavirus pandemic has made the nation realise why becoming self-reliant is important in order to progress. He said that in a short time, India has proven its mettle as a self-reliant nation by manufacturing and supplying numerous PPE kits and ventilators.

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in India in March last year, India was looking to source PPE kits from other countries. However, after within a few months, it was exporting to other countries.

He also pointed out that small and cottage industries have received the required impetus through measures like modification in the definition of MSMEs, increase in the investment limit or priority in government procurement.

The COVID-19 pandemic crippled the MSME sector significantly, impacting their financial health. The Rs 20 lakh-crore Aatmanirbhar Bharat stimulus package, which rolled out a slew of schemes, including the Rs 3 lakh-crore collateral-free loan, brought some relief to the sector, especially after small business owners saw a 20 to 30 percent decline in their revenues because of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May had said, "Our responsibility to make India a self-reliant India will be powered by the energy of the 1.3 billion population. With new energy and new determination, we need to move ahead,"

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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