Hyderabad, June 18: Telangana Minister for Information Technology and Industry K Taraka Rama Rao has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urging for a reappraisal of the Aatmanirbhar relief package and make it work more realistically and humanly for the most affected constituents, of which Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) occupy a top priority.

"It is high time that we do a sincere reappraisal of the Aatmanirbhar relief package and make it work more realistically and humanly for the most affected constituents, of which MSMEs occupy a top priority," Rao wrote in his letter.

The Aatmanirbhar relief package was announced in May last year for all sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stating that the impact of the Rs 20 lakh crore package has been minimal on the MSMEs, he emphasised that over 25 per cent MSMEs have lost significant revenues.

"It is now over a year that Hon'ble Prime Minister announced the Aatmanirbhar relief package of Rs 20 lakh crore for all the sectors adversely impacted by Covid. As the Minister for Industries in Telangana, I have focused hard on ensuring that the MSMEs of our state who constitute the backbone of our manufacturing sector benefit from the package.

However, one year down the line, I regret to mention that the impact of the package has been minimal for this sector that has really faced the brunt of the pandemic. More than 80 per cent of the MSMEs in our state have faced a negative impact mainly due to the heavy lockdown of last year, and above 25 per cent have lost significant revenues," Rao wrote in his letter.

For the MSME sector in the package is the Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line scheme under which Rs 3 lakh crore were allotted, said Rao. "Every MSME has unique challenges, and a "one size fits all" kind of scheme hardly is the answer to their requirements. What will really work is a solid financial grant that takes care of all the losses the MSMEs have suffered due to the pandemic," he added.

Amid the second wave of COVID-19 and the fear of a possible third wave, the IT minister appealed, "I request you to take our concerns on board and strive to meet our expectations,".

Last year, public and private sector banks had sanctioned loans worth Rs 79,000 crore to help MSMEs tide over challenges created by the lockdown after COVID-19 outbreak.

Recently, the Ministry of Finance expanded the scope of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) amid the economic disruption caused by the second wave of the pandemic.

According to an official statement by the Ministry, under the ECLGS 4.0, 100 per cent guarantee cover will be extended to loans of up to Rs 2 crore given to hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, medical colleges for setting up on-site oxygen generation plants. The interest rate has been capped at 7.5 per cent for the same.

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