Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday asked large industry to refrain from delaying payments to MSMEs, stating that timely payments to them was critical especially when the country is looking to quickly revive itself out of the pandemic era. 

Addressing a post-Budget interactive meeting with FICCI members in the capital, Sitharaman wanted large industry to pay MSMEs on time and noted that payment dues cannot be seen to be locked up. Timely payments have to be made to MSMEs even by government departments and government-owned public sector entities,  she added. 

“Recovery cannot be of one sector or one big or small company. Recovery has to be of India. For this MSMEs have to be paid within 45 days and it is the responsibility of both private sector and government to get this implemented”, Sitharaman said.

She highlighted that large corporates should not deny MSMEs their rightful payments for the goods supplied by them or services rendered by them.

Capex spend by States

Sitharaman said that substantial proposals of projects are expected from States from April 1 this year. The Budget had allocated as much as ₹1.3-lakh crore to be extended to States through 50-year soft loan facility for enhanced capex implementation.

“My strong belief is in the month of April itself there should be substantial proposals coming from States so that release of funds can happen straightaway”, she noted.

While the Centre has been going the whole hog in ramping up capex, the States have been quite a laggard on the capex spending front, utilising only on an average about 40 per cent of their capex budgets.

Amrit Kaal

Sitharaman asked FICCI to go back to the drawing board and proactively look at Government’s Amrit Kaal blueprint and identify opportunities and challenges over and above what the government had already identified. 

She also urged Indian industry to become the “primary mover” in providing policy inputs to the government on areas like renewable energy and rare earths, where the next round of policy development could be fashioned.

FICCI President Subhrakant Panda expressed confidence that the Budget would crowd in private investments and help the private sector go out and ramp up their investments in the economy.

He hailed the green theme running through the Budget.