Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” package has been a topic of hot debate ever since it was announced by the PM in his address to the nation. While some welcomed the relief package, some expressed discontent and said more needs to be done. However, a burning question that remains is: Will this relief package help MSMEs and other sectors which have been struck hard by the pandemic?
MSMEs in our country have for long been on of the most indebted sectors. Any loans would only add to their misery. Moreover, there is also a danger that the banks may not actually lend the money to those who need it, but use the credit guarantees to bail themselves out instead. The best way to help the MSMEs would have been to pay them the money owed as dues, which amount to as much as Rs 5 lakh crores.
When it comes to larger industries and the worst-affected segments like tourism, airlines, automobile manufacture and constructions which have been grounded ever since the lockdown came into effect, the relief package could have added some actual relief for these sectors as well. While huge bailouts might not be possible, debt relief could have nevertheless provided.
The country’s economy had been plummeting way before it was struck with an additional blow in the form of coronavirus pandemic. In order to overcome this crisis, what the industries need is re-capitalisation and re-structuring. Many public sector banks have been on the verge of dissolution, hence the banking sector also needs an overhauling in the form of a better management.
Despite what it lacks, PM’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” package has nevertheless been a saviour indeed to some sectors, agriculture in particular. The reforms introduced in the agriculture sector can be game-changers. However, they need to be implemented in an honest fashion, without getting hijacked by the bureaucracy. However, the conditions on which the Essential Commodity Act restrictions have been revived could undermine reform in long run.