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BSNL leads the pack with MSE overdue amount at Rs 499 crore

The central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) owe Rs 2,262 crore to micro and small enterprises (MSEs), with Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) topping the chart of largest defaulters among CPSEs with Rs 499 crore pending dues, according to data available on the Samadhaan portal.

The micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) ministry has created the portal where these firms can file applications online regarding delayed payments by companies, public sector enterprises as well as by central and state government ministries.

The application once filed is forwarded automatically online to the Micro and Small Enterprise Facilitation Council (MSEFC) in the respective state or Union Territory and action on the applications regarding delayed payment is taken by MSEFC only. So far, MSEFCs have disposed of 22.9 per cent of the total applications received against CPSEs with Rs 956.6 crore amount involved since launch of the portal in 2017.

Other major CPSE defaulters as on November 10 inlcude Bharat Heavy Electrical (~254 crore), NBCC (India) (~195 crore), Steel Authority of India (~136 crore), and ITI (~96 crore). Emails sent to the top two defaulters — BSNL and BHEL — did not elicit any response till press time.

Anil Bhardwaj, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) said the effectiveness of Samadhaan in resolution of the applications was very low at present. “The portal has been a facilitative mechanism and lacks legal backing in enforcing the decisions and time-bound resolution of the complaints. There are disparities in the performance of MSEFCs among the states. For example, Tamil Nadu has an effective council while Delhi’s performance has been abysmally low,” he said.

Bhardwaj said since the large CPSEs procure in bulk, a higher number of applications are filed against them for delayed payments. “There is a need for inter-ministerial coordination for dealing with delayed payment cases involving CPSEs. There is a need to reduce litigation by setting up a threshold limit for cases that can be mutually settled,” he said.

In September, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had assured that the Centre would take adequate measures to clear pending dues to MSMEs and would ensure that the central government departments and CPSEs make payments to the MSMEs in 90 days.

The ministry has directed 92 operating CP¬SEs that have not onboarded the trade receivables discounting system (TReDS) despite the government’s mandate to do so, Business Standard reported on October 27. The government had mandated in 2017 that all CPSEs get registered on the TReDS as delayed payments by public and private organisations results in shortage of working capital for the MSMEs in their regular business operations.

TReDS is an institutional mechanism set up in order to facilitate the discounting of invoices for MSMEs from CPSE and corporate buyers through multiple financiers. Business Standard

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