The Congress on Wednesday called for suggestions on a financial package for small businesses that are hit badly by the countrywide lockdown in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The economy was already in a critical state and will get totally destabilised if the micro, small and medium enterprises struggle, party leader Rahul Gandhi said.
On a new website the Congress has created to get citizens’ inputs, the party said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our MSMEs and small businesses. An economic stimulus package for MSME sector is the need of the hour. Congress will voice these concerns. Fill the following form and give us your suggestions for an MSME relief package.”
The party also asked for suggestions on email as well as through social media.
On Saturday, the Congress had constituted a consultative group with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as its chairperson to deliberate on “current concerns” and formulate views and policy of the party on important matters. In its first meeting on Monday, the committee decided to submit a report to the Centre on possible actions to revive the MSME sector. Rahul Gandhi is a member of the group.
India has been under a lockdown since March 25 as the coronavirus is expected to slow down its spread if people stay home. However, since April 20, the Centre has allowed some relaxations in areas that are not hotspots for the disease – for instance, rural industries have now been allowed to operate. The lockdown is scheduled to end on May 3.
The economic activity has suffered badly during this period. The government has announced some measures to help businesses, such as releasing all pending income tax refunds up to Rs 5 lakh and pending Goods and Services Tax and Custom refunds.