Reserve Bank panel on MSME suggests Rs 15,000 cr fund to support industry

Mumbai: The UK Sinha Committee, set up by the RBI on micro, small and medium enterprises, has recommended financial support of Rs 15,000 crore to the MSME sector, which contributes significantly to employment generation and has as a hefty share of over 40 percent in exports.

The contribution of the sector in the economy is currently constrained due to several challenges affecting growth in the sector, said the report submitted by the nine-member committee to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Tuesday.

The committee recommended setting up of a government-sponsored 'fund of funds' (FoF) of Rs 10,000 crore to support the venture capital and private equity firms investing in the MSME sector that will support crowdfunding from venture capital and private equity firms, which focus on investing in the MSME segment on modified terms sheets developed by SIDBI.

"This would encourage innovation in term sheets and product structures," the committee said in its recommendations.

The panel also recommended that a Rs 5,000-crore distressed asset fund be structured to assist units in clusters where a change in external environment, such as a ban on plastics or dumping, has led to a large number of MSMEs becoming non-performing assets (NPAs).

This fund could operate on the lines of the Textile Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS), which has been in existence for many years. This would be of significant size which makes equity investments that help unlock debt or help revive sick units, it said.

 Reserve Bank panel on MSME suggests Rs 15,000 cr fund to support industry

Representational image. Reuters

The committee also recommended introduction of voluntary certification of MSMEs that comply with prescribed internal governance standards.

The MSME sector has emerged as an important sector of the Indian economy contributing significantly to employment generation, innovation, exports, and inclusive growth of the economy, however, under the changed circumstances, it is imperative to bring about changes in the MSMED Act, 2006, according to the report.

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006, was enacted to provide enabling policy environment for promotion and development of the sector by way of defining MSMEs, putting in place a framework for developing and enhancing competitiveness of the MSME enterprises, ensuring flow of credit to the sector and paving the way for preference in government procurement to products and services of the MSMEs, and address the issue of delayed payments, among others.

For SIDBI, the apex financial institution for supporting financing and development of MSMEs, the committee recommended a more focused engagement with state governments for MSME development and promotion.

The panel suggested use of priority sector shortfall (PSS) funds to create a low-cost lending window for state governments for infrastructure projects in clusters, civil works for rehabilitation of existing industrial estates and setting up of new industrial estates.

"This would require RBI approval and could be structured on the lines of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)," it said.

Also, SIDBI should help the state governments design or operate schemes for equity support, interest subvention, resolution of stressed MSMEs, learning events for MSME entrepreneurs including field visits to well-performing clusters and support to the sector to get onto the digital platforms, such as 'PSBLoansIn59Minutes', stock exchange listing and e-commerce platforms, among others.

The committee said the MSME sector faces several challenges. Formulation of targeted policies in infrastructure development, formalisation, technology adoption, backward and forward linkage, credit gap reduction and timely payments to MSMEs and their effective implementation has been a challenge for all the stakeholders.

Recognising the sector's universal role as an engine of economic growth and for promoting equitable development, the committee said India is currently one of the fastest-growing economies of the world and the sector is likely to continue to play a significant role in the growth of the economy.

The RBI in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2018-19 in December had announced to set up the committee to propose long-term solutions, for the economic and financial sustainability of the MSME sector.

Further, an increasingly globalized world, marked by competition and innovation is posing newer and varied challenges to the MSMEs. The increasing stress in the sector is a matter of concern and therefore, it was felt imperative that a comprehensive review should be undertaken of the entire MSME ecosystem along with global best practices for suggesting measures for the holistic development of the sector, the committee said.

Updated Date: Jun 26, 2019 17:09:55 IST