MSME ministry seeks more money for workers’ fundhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/msme-ministry-seeks-more-money-for-workers-fund/

MSME ministry seeks more money for workers’ fund

For setting up of a fund to provide financial assistance to informal workers in the unorganised sector...

For setting up of a fund to provide financial assistance to informal workers in the unorganised sector,the micro,small and medium enterprises ministry has sought Rs 1,000 crore from the Planning Commission in the financial outlay for the year

In its letter to the Commission,the ministry has asked for allocation of funds over and above the funds proposed in the Annual Plan 2009-10. “Given the proposal to operationalise the fund from early 2009-10,it would be necessary to earmark funds in the Annual Plan 2009-10 of the ministry of MSME,” the letter said. An initial corpus of Rs 1,000 crore has been proposed for the National Fund for the Unorganised Sector (NAFUS) to be provided through budgetary support.

Meanwhile,the proposal for setting up of NAFUS,which is yet to be taken up for Cabinet’s consideration,is languishing in the finance ministry. The MSME ministry had circulated the proposal to the finance ministry and the plan panel in early January. However,the finance ministry has not responded to the proposal despite a reminder,an official source said.

The fund,to be created on the pattern of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD),was proposed by the National Commission on Enterprises in Unorganised Sector (NCEUS). It has been envisaged as a statutory body funded by the Centre and financial institutions,with its focus on non-farm micro enterprises with investment of less than Rs 5 lakh. According to the NCEUS,this segment constitutes 94 per cent of all small enterprises estimated at 58 million in 2007 with a total employment of 104 million.

Earlier,taking serious note of various recommendations of the NCEUS targeting unorganised sector welfare,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had ordered the formation of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) to determine specific action points that can be taken up and implemented in a time-bound manner. The IMG,chaired by Planning Commission secretary Subas Pani had recommended the formation of the NAFUS.