MUMBAI, Sept 16: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday asked private sector companies to clear dues to small businesses within 45 days and admitted that the Central departments and enterprises are also not making payments to them on time.
She conceded that the Centre, States and state-owned enterprises too have outstanding dues to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The minister said that at a meeting with big businesses here two days ago, she had appealed to them to ensure that the dues of small businesses, who are the backbone of the economy, are cleared on time.
“Private sector industry should commit to make payments to MSMEs in 45 days along with the books of accounts filed with the registrar of companies which make a mention of outstanding dues,” she said at an event organised by the Laghu Udyog Bharati, the RSS-affiliate devoted to small businesses, here on Friday morning.
However, she admitted that the central departments and enterprises are also not making timely payments to MSMEs.
The minister, who has been in the financial capital since Wednesday, also said the Centre too will be taking adequate steps to resolve the issue of dues to MSMES by ensuring that the Central departments and various enterprises make payments to them in 90 days and also appealed to States and their public sector enterprises to do so.
Stating that her ministerial colleagues also frequently bring up the issue of accumulating dues of MSMEs, Sitharaman highlighted various Government schemes like the Treds (trade receivables discounting system) platform and also the Samadhan portal, which have helped small businesses to get timely payments.
Listing out the various initiatives rolled out to support the sector, she named the Rs 6,000-crore RAMP (racing and accelerating MSME performance) scheme for exporters and the Rs 500-crore digital transfers to 18,000 MSMEs under the self-reliance scheme, which has a total outlay of Rs 5,000 crore.
She urged MMSEs to embrace technology and provide skilling and upskilling training to bring efficiency in the production, and take advantage of Web 3.0 not to replace the workforce but to enhance productivity.
Artificial Intelligence, big data analysis and digitalisation will accelerate the pace of growth in the next 25 years and it will impact MSMEs in a positive way, she said. (PTI)