The Congress Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take urgent steps and announce a financial assistance package to protect the wages and salaries of about 11 crore people working in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, and a paycheque protection programme on the lines of what the US had announced for another 1 crore employees with income of less than Rs 3.5 lakh a year.
Addressing a press conference, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram lashed out at the NDA government for remaining “non-committal on everything”, be it an exit strategy after the lockdown, financial assistance to states or a financial package or assistance for businesses. He said monetisation of the fiscal deficit should not be seen as a “no-go area”.
“The time to make bold decisions to save MSMEs is now. If businesses do not see hope, they will decide to close. The government has to step in today to protect 11 crore Indians and give hope to MSMEs. It is bewildering that there has been absolutely no financial package or assistance announced for businesses since the onset of Covid-19,” he said, asking the government to announce Rs 1 lakh crore as wage protection assistance to help MSMEs pay wages and salaries for April and another Rs 1 lakh crore for credit guarantee fund for MSMEs.
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