With Lok Sabha Elections 2019 around the corner, both the national parties BJP and Congress have released their party Manifesto’s to claim the thrones. The micro, small and medium enterprises contribute significantly in the economic and social development of the country by fostering entrepreneurship and generating largest employment opportunities.
MSMEs are complementary to large industries as ancillary units and this sector contributes significantly in the inclusive industrial development of the country. To entice the MSME sector, which also accounts for 90 per cent of all employment outside agriculture, both the national parties have given special weightage in their respective manifesto’s.
To reclaim the throne, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has also given significant importance to the MSME sector in their manifesto or the ‘Sankalp Patra’. The manifesto is crafted on the theme of a ‘Sankalpit Bharat – Shashakt Bharat’. The manifesto of BJP aims to fulfil the aspirations of 130 crore Indians.
The focal points for the MSMEs in the BJP Manifesto are:
- The manifesto of BJP promises to establish the ‘National Traders Welfare Board’ for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs).
- Another highlight of the manifesto is that the BJP has promised to protect the interests of small traders, they have promised pension scheme for small traders.
- BJP has also promised to provide an accident insurance of ₹ 10 lakh to all the traders registered under GST. In fact, National Policy for Retail Trade will also be formed for the growth of retail businesses.
- BJP has also promised to boost the employment generation in the northeastern states, by setting up a new ‘Entrepreneurial Northeast’ scheme which would provide financial support to the MSMEs of the northeastern states.
- On the lines of Kisan credit card, the manifesto has promised to create a scheme to give registered merchants credit cards.
- They have also given importance to technology, the ‘Sankalp Patra’ promises for better technology access and upgradation to achieve 150 centers, 100 innovation zones and 500 incubators by 2024.
- The party has also promised to launch a new scheme to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth which would provide collateral-free credit up to ₹ 50 lacs for entrepreneurs.
- The ruling party has also promised to continue to promote and encourage startups through the creation of a ‘Seed Startup Fund’ of ₹ 20,000 crore.
The main ruling opposition party Congress has highlighted in their Manifesto to rehabilitate small businesses which were badly hit by Modi government’s demonetisation policy in the year 2016. The party’s manifesto read, Congress would “devise a rehabilitation plan for MSMEs that were severely affected and help them revive and grow.”
The focal points for the MSMEs in the Congress Manifesto are:
- The Congress party’s manifesto has pledged to get a solution of linking the definition of MSME to employment. A business employing 10 persons or less will be ‘micro;’ between 11 and 100 will be ‘small;’ and between 101 and 500 will be ‘medium.’
- The party has also promised to create an Enterprise Support Agency which would help the entrepreneurs, including the startups.
- The manifesto promises a regulatory forbearance for MSMEs which means that they would be exempted from all applicable laws and regulations (except the Minimum Wages Act and tax laws) for a period of 3 years from 1 April 2019, or in case of new businesses, the date of commencement of business.
- The party also promises to promote and support ‘Mass Entrepreneurship’ and support them to replicate tried and tested models of businesses.
- The party has also promised to encourage the establishment of State-level and Regional-level institutions, including small banks, to provide bank credit to MSMEs.
- The manifesto of the Congress party also says that they would encourage state governments to revive the State Financial Corporations to provide long-term credit and risk capital to the MSMEs.
- Another point which Congress has mentioned in their manifesto to woe the MSMEs is to trigger rapid growth of the MSMEs manufacturing sector, they will also ensure world-class infrastructure in industrial hubs and cluster towns to aid the expansion creation of units.
- They have also promised to acquire patents, to create a patent pool and make advanced technologies available to SMEs.
The General Elections 2019 is scheduled to be held in seven stages from April 11, 2019 to May 19, 2019. The results shall be announced on May 23, 2019.