Govt widens ambit of MSME credit scheme

Doubles the upper ceiling of loans outstanding to Rs 50 cr and include individual loans to professionals

By Author  |  Published: 1st Aug 2020  8:38 pm

New Delhi: The government on Saturday widened the scope of the Rs 3-lakh crore MSME credit guarantee scheme by doubling the upper ceiling of loans outstanding to Rs 50 crore and including certain individual loans given to professionals like doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants for business purposes under its ambit. The tweaking of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) was done based on demand from trade bodies and in line with new MSME definition approved by the Union Cabinet in June.

Briefing the media about the changes made, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the scheme will now include individual loans given for business purposes within the ambit of the ECLGS, subject to the eligibility criteria of the scheme. “We have also decided to cover individual loans given to doctors, chartered accountants for business purposes under the scheme,” Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda said. Similar procedure as with regard to companies would be adopted to sanction loans to these professionals running their business, he said.

To include more companies to take benefit of the scheme, he said, it has been decided to increase the upper ceiling of loans outstanding as on February 29 for being eligible under the scheme from Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore. The maximum amount of guaranteed emergency credit line (GECL) funding under the scheme would also correspondingly increase from Rs 5 crore at present to Rs 10 crore, he said. Announced as part of the Rs 20.97 lakh crore government economic package to tackle the impact of Covid-19, the scheme will now be applicable for companies with an annual turnover of Rs 250 crore as against the earlier Rs 100 crore.

Banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) have approved loans worth about Rs 1.37 lakh crore while disbursement stood at Rs 87,227 crore at the end of July 29. “Smaller companies were sufficiently covered under the scheme, so we wanted to include larger companies as well,” Panda said. The overall ceiling for the scheme remains at Rs 3 lakh crore and the validity of the scheme is till October, he added.

The Finance Minister said that the intended changes are likely to expand the ambit of ECLGS to make an additional amount of more than Rs 1 lakh crore eligible under the scheme. On May 20, the Cabinet approved additional funding of up to Rs 3 lakh crore at a concessional rate of 9.25 per cent through ECLGS for the MSME sector.

Under the scheme, 100 per cent guarantee coverage will be provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company for additional funding of up to Rs 3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency borrowers in the form of a guaranteed emergency credit line (GECL)facility. For this purpose, a corpus of Rs 41,600 crore was set up by the government, spread over the current and next three financial years. The scheme will be applicable to all loans sanctioned under the GECL facility during the period from the date of announcement of the scheme to October 31 or till the amount of Rs 3 lakh crore is sanctioned under GECL, whichever is earlier.

All MSME borrower accounts with an outstanding credit of up to Rs 50 crore as on February 29, which were less than or equal to 60 days past due as on that date, i.e., regular, SMA-0 and SMA-1 accounts, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore, are eligible for GECL funding under the scheme. Sharing details of other schemes announced under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ package, Panda said banks have sanctioned about Rs 90,000 crore to about 1.1 crore Kisan Credit Card (KCC) holders to help farmers meet finances for kharif sowing and allied activities. As part of the Rs 20.97 lakh crore stimulus package, the government had announced Rs 2 lakh crore of concessional credit through KCC to 2.5 crore farmers, including fishermen and those involved in animal husbandry.

Public sector banks (PSBs) have purchased bonds and commercial papers worth Rs 18,000 crore issued by NBFCs and housing finance companies under the revamped Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS). Besides, bonds and NCDs worth Rs 5,800 crore are under process of approval, Panda added. The Union Cabinet on May 20 approved the sovereign portfolio guarantee of up to 20 per cent of the first loss for purchase of bonds or commercial papers with a rating of AA and below including unrated paper with original or initial maturity of up to one year issued by NBFCs/HFCs/MFIs by public sector banks through an extension of PCGS. The Cabinet also extended the time period of the scheme from June 30, 2020, to March 31, 2021, for purchase of pooled assets of the distressed entities.