Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Nearly a week after the government announced reinstating retail and wholesale trades under MSME classification, the central bank Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now written to banks to include the two for priority sector lending. RBI also informed all banks that such businesses engaged in retail and wholesale trade would be allowed to register on the MSME registration portal – Udyam Registration, as announced by the government.
Those operating in retail and wholesale trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles with NIC code 45, Wholesale trade except of motor vehicles and motorcycles with NIC code 46, and Retail trade except of motor vehicles and motorcycles with NIC code 47 would be allowed to benefit under the revised guideline, according to the RBI circular sent on Wednesday. “The Enterprises having Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM) under above three NIC Codes are now allowed to migrate to Udyam Registration Portal or file Udyam Registration afresh,” the circular read.
Udyam Registration, launched in July last year, is a self-declaration paperless and free-of-cost portal platform for new and existing MSMEs to register with their Aadhaar number. Moreover, the portal automatically pulls PAN and GST-linked details on investment in the business, according to Udyam Registration since it is integrated with Income Tax and GSTIN systems. MSMEs are given a permanent registration number and a certificate post-registration. The certificate bears a QR Code from which the details about the enterprise can be accessed.
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According to the available government data, 35.80 lakh MSMEs were registered on the Udyam portal as of July 8, 2021. As per the MSME Ministry annual report 2020-21, there were 1.02 crores Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM)-registered MSMEs between September 2015 and June 2020 apart from nearly 22 lakh units registered under Entrepreneur Memorandum II between 2007 and 2015. UAM and EM II were replaced by Udyam Registration last year.
However, MSME associations have expressed concern over the inclusion of retail and wholesale trades. For instance, MSME body FISME had said traders will now import and supply to the government and would be able to leverage promotional schemes such as International cooperation which were meant to promote India-made goods in international markets. Essentially, the concern has been around expanding the already vast MSME sector by including traders and consequently narrowing down the share of benefits that otherwise were earlier spread to MSMEs only.
“This landmark decision will have a structural impact for the sector, helping it get formalised by giving better finance options for businesses that want to get structured. It will give retail MSMEs the support they need to survive, revive and thrive,” Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India had said, in contrast to MSME associations’ view.