Impact of Union Budget 2018-19 on MSME Sector

The Honourable Finance Minister presented the Union Budget 2018-2019 in Parliament on 1st February. This budget was guided by a mission to strengthen the agriculture, rural development,health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors of the Indian economy.The special emphasis on the MSME sector gives a huge boost to the players present in the industry, especially the Digital Lending companies. NeoGrowth, being a prominent Digital Lending Player in India, kept a close eye on the budget announcements.

INR 3794 crore was allocated in the budget for giving credit support to the MSME. This demonstrates that the government appreciates the need to provide adequate finance to MSME, complementing the efforts of the industry.

BudgetThe budget spoke of the massive formalization of the businesses of MSMEs, especially after demonetization and introduction of GST. This in turn is generating an enormous financial information database of MSME businesses and finances. This big data base will be used for improving financing of MSME capital requirement, including working capital.

This very well implies that the government is recognising the flow based lending via GSTN database as an alternate method of lending. This in turn would help Digital lenders determine the credit worthiness accurately and provide capital needs to untapped industry segments.

Online loan sanctioning facility for MSMEs will be revamped for prompt decision making by lenders. This is directly aligned with our efforts to provide loans to merchants within minimal turnaround time and for financial inclusion of the underserved market.

As per the budget announcement , the Government will soon announce measures for
effectively addressing non-performing assets and stressed accounts of MSMEs. Both Banks and NBFCs are currently going through the stress of bad loans. This is a very welcome move from the government to address the credit quality in this sector. We are hoping that such measures are announced soon.
The speech also clearly mentions focus on Fintech for growth of MSMEs. A group in the Ministry of Finance is examining the policy and institutional development measures needed for creating right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India. This is the first time when government has given clear emphasis of the Fintech sector via a Budget and recognises our efforts in the MSME industry.

For Fintech and NBFCs, working closely with Mudra will be a big theme. The proposed rejig of MUDRA refinancing criteria is another big plus. Currently MUDRA is refinancing MFIs, NBFCs and Banks who lend under the scheme. This however comes with a cap on the final rate that can be charged, for NBFCs at 6% above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA. However, the small-ticket and shorter tenure of loans on digital platforms entail higher operating cost than typical NBFC business. Thus, a rejig in this sense would really help the Fintech industry, especially the Digital Lending players.

The budget talked about extending the benefit of a reduced corporate tax rate of 25% to companies who have reported turnover up to INR 250 crore in the financial year 2016-17. We welcome this move as this will encompass most of the Digital Lending Players in India.

The Government also plans to list many steps for building a robust alternative investment regime in the country via Venture Capital Funds and Angel Investors. The government though its budget plans to roll out a taxation regime designed for the special nature of the Venture Capital Funds and the Angel Investors. This boost will certainly help the Indian
grown Venture Capital Funds and Angel Investors, thereby opening possibilities for them in growing and investing in Indian Fintech sector.

The overall tone and direction of the Union Budget presented  was extremely positive and it recognised the role of MSME sector and related Fintech/Digital Lending Players as growth driver of the economy for the coming year of 2018-2019.