Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has sanctioned financial credit worth Rs 1,648.22 crore to nearly 95,000 MSMEs in the state, as part of his government’s efforts to bail out the sector and an economy hit by the Covid pandemic.
The Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme announced by Mr Sonowal in Guwahati on Monday falls under the “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (self-reliant India)” programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The financial credit for struggling MSMEs (micro, medium and small enterprises) is also part of the Rs 20 lakh crore package revealed by the centre in May.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said Rs 3 lakh crore would be set aside as collateral-free loans for MSMEs. The Finance Minister also said the loans would be 100 per cent credit-free and come with a 12-month repayment moratorium.
Small businesses across India were worst hit by the lockdown. Some 10 crore workers in mining, construction, manufacturing and services sectors have been left jobless, according to various reports, while hundreds of thousands of cash-starved firms were forced to either deferred or cut wages.
Mr Sonowal said general managers of district-level industries and commerce centres had been asked to create awareness and help MSMEs interact with banks to get the benefits of the scheme.
The Chief Minister also said that “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” would help Assam and young people in the state would be given an opportunity to project the region as the “epicentre of trade and business activities”.
He said the agricultural produce of Assam was recognised across South East Asia and the world and that the state’s youth had proven their leadership during this difficult time.
Mr Sonowal also pointed out that for programmes like “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” to succeed in the state, banks would have to play a huge role. The Chief Minister thanked the banking industry’s contribution in this regard and said strong co-ordination between the government, banks and industries would be key in boosting the Assamese economy.
Assam has reported over 90,000 COVID-19 cases so far, with 1,272 new cases detected on Sunday. Of the total cases in the state, 242 are deaths linked to the virus and around 23,000 are active cases.