Mangaluru, May 13, 2020: Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on Tuesday whereby he announced a COVID relief package of Rs. 20 lakh crore, former president of District Small Industries Association Sumit S. Rao has written an open letter to the Prime Minster urging him to drop his proposal to give sops and instead to focus on other measures like giving rebate on GST, uniform electricity tariff, and reduction of interest rate to small industries.
In the letter Rao argues that these measures will put more expendable money in the hands of the people and help revive the economy, while the government will not lose any revenue based on the principle ‘less gives more’.
On an earlier occasion too, when the prime minister had asked the citizens to voluntarily give up cooking gas subsidy during his first term, Sumit S. Rao had similarly written an open letter to Modi which had gone viral on social media and reached lakhs of readers.
Following is the full text of his letter.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA
Dear Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi-ji,
I listened with interest to your address to the nation today, whereby you announced a grand relief package of Rs. 20 lakh crores. While I appreciate your thoughtfulness to provide large scale relief, even if a bit late, I regret to inform you that I am not at all enthused by your gesture.
I am a proud employer. I will not take any such handouts. If the government really want us small industrialists to survive, please reduce what we have to give the government. By doing so you will keep the industries running and earn more. The idea is ‘less gives more’.
Following are some of my suggestions to you in this regard:
1. Give us a rebate of 5% in GST for 1 year. Then prices of finished products will come down and more purchases will be made.
2. Give us a uniform tariff rate for electricity for a year instead of higher rates for more units consumed. This will help increase production and earn more revenue.
3. Reduce interest rates to an uniform 5% or all SME’s for 1 year. Then we will be able to pay interest and run our businesses. Then there will be less NPAs, less one time settlements and people will not let their industries to die. Here also the banks will earn more.
4. Simplify labour laws, taxation laws (both GST and income tax).
5. Have more simplified procedures for filing of PF and ESI. Instead of multiple forms have a single form which will save time for us and clerical staff also.
6. Give proper price preference to SME’s in purchases by government (not the drama they have now where 15% purchase preference is given but you have to match the lowest price given by the other large industry). Ask us to match the specifications of the product but give us a simple 10% or 15% higher price on the product. This will help us get more work from large industries and government departments.
7. Have redressal forums for SMEs consisting of members of the small industries, independent people of good standing and the people from the concerned departments and redress the issues every month expeditiously. To save time, the redressal was meetings could be conducted online.
8. Have a simple one page exit policy for industries wanting to close down.
9. Allot land to SMEs at special prices instead of allowing thousands of acres for IT firms which require just 10 acres to house 10,000 people in multi-storey buildings. What a shame. These are just land grab opportunities for the rich.
10. For a change, let the large industries subsidize the small industries instead of the other way round.
11. Help SME’s to export by handholding them through the process.
12. Ask any industry that is coming from outside India to source atleast 25% of their components from SME’s in India.
13. Last but not the least, let al formalities to start an industry be put online so that corruption is put out of contention.
By this, you Narendra Modi sir, our Prime Minister, can help us small industrialists help the nation grow. I once again reiterate tthat we do not want any money from you. I reaffirm that I am asking for financial support relaxations for only one year.
We just want you to be a partner in our progress and let the country’s exchequer earn enough money to put the nation on a firm footing by adhering to the credo "less is more”.
Sumith S. Rao
A small industrialist from Mangalore, Karnataka