Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday wrote to his counterparts in 12 states urging them to demand that the Union government and Reserve Bank of India provide a loan moratorium to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown. In a letter to the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal, Stalin said that there is an asymmetry in the treatment of borrowers, particularly MSME units and small borrowers during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
"In April/May, 2020 when the Government of India had announced the nationwide lockdown, a moratorium was offered on repayment of loans for such borrowers. However, in April-June, 2021 when lockdowns are being imposed, based on local conditions, by the respective states, similar relief to borrowers is not being provided for," Stalin said.
Stating that he had taken up the issue with the Union government, Stalin requested the 12 Chief Ministers to write to both the Union Finance Minister and the Governor, Reserve Bank of India, to prevail on them to offer loan repayment for at least the first two quarters of 2021-2022 to all small borrowers with outstanding up to Rs 5 crore in view of the lockdowns induced by the second wave of COVID-19.
‚ÄúThe absence of such relief measures would force many businesses to close and would lead to widespread economic distress. These MSMEs and small businesses are the mainstay of our economy and employment generation,‚ÄĚ Stalin added.
Stalin also said several Chief Ministers had written to the Union government that it would be the appropriate purchaser of COVID-19 vaccine than the states. "I am happy that all our collective efforts have been instrumental in convincing the Union Government and the Prime Minister to reverse the earlier policy on Monday," he said. Several states including Tamil Nadu had floated global tender to purchase COVID-19 vaccines but did not get even a single bid.