Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), particularly in the informal sector, are worst affected by the spread of COVID-19 and its containment measures in 2020. Many small businesses shut down while many enterprises were compelled to scale down their operations due to demand and supply shocks generated due to lockdown and restrictions on mobility. In order to support the small businesses and the weaker sections of society, the government introduced relief packages worth of Rs 20 lakh crore under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package, including revision of MSME definition, credit infusion to the MSME sector, reduction in interest rates, and loan moratorium. Although the package focuses on MSMEs and village industries, its effectiveness has been limited by the high degree of informality in the sector. Even before the pandemic, the MSME sector had been facing many challenges for its survival and growth. The pandemic has made it worse; it has highlighted the weaknesses of policies and support measures for the MSME sector.
In this backdrop, ISID organised a webinar on “Fostering the Revival of MSMEs in the Aftermath of COVID-19” on February 17, 2022 where Dr Akhilesh Kumar Sharma, Assistant Professor, ISID presented the key findings of his recent study on the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs based on a primary survey of small firms. Eminent speakers included Prof Keshab Das, Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad; Prof M H Bala Subramanya, Department of Management, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; and, Prof Dev Nathan, Visiting Faculty, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi. The speakers discussed the key issues important for the revival of MSMEs in the aftermath of COVID-19. The webinar was moderated by Prof Nagesh Kumar, Director, ISID.