Asserting that uniformity in pricing is the need of the hour, the All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO), which claims to have over 50 million MSME players in its fold, demanded a one-India-one-price mechanism across sectors.
In an apparent reference to the goods and services tax (GST), K E Raghunathan, National President, AIMO, said with the one-tax-one-country already having been brought in, the country should now have a uniform power tariff, toll charges, fuel prices and education fee structure. He called for the abrogation of differential pricing structures followed by the states and sought uniformity in pricing so that MSMEs become competitive and operationally profitable to survive in today’s unpredictable business environment.
K E Raghunathan added the over 78 million traders and micro, small & medium enterprises present in the country are ‘the engines of growth’ for India. He claimed the MSME sector, which provides employment to more than 80 million people and contributes to over 11.3 per cent of GDP, has been neglected.
As per AIMO data, sectors requiring immediate revival or reconstruction include real estate, construction, match industry, printing, textiles, start-ups, tanneries, automobiles, power, stone, plastic, consumer products, service industry and infrastructure development.
Raghunathan claimed operational profits have decreased drastically in these units and called for the removal of cross subsidy-based hike in power rates.
He said renewable energy sources ought to be subsidised and called for IT rebates offered to individuals, apart from seeking uniform power charges for industries. AIMO has proposed the setting up of a separate compliance forum and mechanism along the lines of banking ombudsman for better utilization under the credit guarantee scheme.
Uniformity in stamp duties for property mortgages across states, GST exemption, interest on refunds from governments, early settlement of NPA were some of the other demands the trade body made.
AIMO also called for the abolition of trade licences, and sought board-level appointment of an MSME representative in all nationalised banks and PSUs.
It stressed on the need to put an end to 'frivolous claims' made out by tax administrators, stating this was a singular cause of loss of productive time of MSME owner-executives.
With every transaction of every business being captured 'online' in GSTN and other digital forms of collection, there is actually an information overload with GOI, AIMO claimed, adding that industries needn't be asked to feed any additional information through the Central Statistical Organisation.
AIMO said the burgeoning problem of job losses in MSMEs needs to be arrested as they provide employment opportunities for the unorganised sector.
The trade body feels the best solution for this is to provide salary subsidy to MSME for employing fresh engineers or graduates for the first six months. It also demanded the minimum wages prescribed as per the Act for MSMEs and start-ups to be lowered, and permission granted to MSMEs to use 50 per cent of their workforce as apprentice, in order to enhance skill development in the country.
AIMO also recommended that start-ups be exempted from payments of ESI and PF contributions, GST (both input and output) and income tax for the first five years. Every start-up must be given a conditional grant equal to the amount invested by the promoter, based on an auditor's certificate.
Raghunathan also asked the government to create a Rs 2,000 crore fund to invest in startups.