Hyderabad: The micro, small and medium enterprises that have started operating from Saturday are now battling a new challenge- shortage of labour, spares and accessories required for smooth functioning of the industrial units. In some cases, where the spares are available, the units are forced to shell out a premium, industry sources said.
Almost all units, barring the essential services, have downed their shutters from March last week when the lockdown was announced.
“Many of the workers have left for their hometown. We are now allowed to work with minimum staff in view of the need to maintain social distance and hygiene. Unlike the large or mega industries, where the level of automation is high, micro, small and medium enterprises depend on manual workers for the productivity to happen,” said M Prabhakar Rao, convenor, All india Forum for Small and Medium Enterprises.
According to him, a bulk of the workers have moved to their respective places. “The onus is on the industrial units to get the employees and casual labour back. Even though the Government has allowed reopening the industrial units on a minimal scale from last week, convincing them to come back is a difficult task. Also, concerns of health weigh high,” he said.
In Telangana, there are about 1.25 lakh micro, small and medium enterprises. Of these more than 40,000 units are into manufacturing and the remaining or services and others segments. Of these 40,000 manufacturing units, about 8,000 units are categorised as medium enterprises,15,000 units as micro and about 17,000 units as small. All these provide an employment to about ten lakh people directly and about two or three fold more indirectly. A sizeable number of employees hail from Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh apart from Telangana.
The productivity levels will be about 25 per cent for the next few months. “Industries are not in a position to take up production at full capacities. There is no demand from the consumer side. Till people buy like they did earlier, the production will not be ramped up. For this to happen, it can take six or more months,” said K Sudhir Reddy, president, Telangana Industrialists Federation.
“Spares availability is a problem. The stores selling them, mostly present in Ranigunj, are shut. This is not helping the industries. Effort should be to make them available online and their delivery should be assured,” said Sudhir Reddy.
TIF had also represented the same to Industries principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan while participating in a virtual launch of a technology platform to take neighbourhood kirana stores online. “We will have to deal with liquidity crunch, working capital and related aspects as time progresses. Now, the focus is on initiating production at the units which have been shut due to lockdown,” the TIF president said.
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