MSMEs makes beeline for credit rating for cheaper loans

More than 16,000 units have filed applications with various credit rating agencies such as CRISIL, CARE, FITCH and Dun and Bradstreet till September 2009.

"Over 15,000 units have already been awarded the ratings and we expect that more and more applicants would approach agencies for getting evaluated," an official in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said.

Rating helps these units to get credit at affordable rate, and loan processing is faster in case of those that have been rated by the credit rating agencies, official said.

Many banks have opened dedicated branches for the SMEs to facilitate swift processing of finances to the sector.
While only 671 units were awarded ratings in 2005-06, the number increased to 5,011 in 2008-09.
In the first six months of the current fiscal, as many as 3,487 enterprises were awarded such ratings.
National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) has empanelled several agencies to conduct rating of interested units under a 'Performance and Credit Rating Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises'.
"In the scheme, the units are at liberty to select any of the rating agencies empanelled with NSIC," the official said.
Various MSMEs associations during their meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in August had complained that they were facing several problems, including availability of credit at affordable rates.
The Prime Minister's Office had constituted a task force to look into the problems faced by SMSEs, and suggest measures to deal with the same.
However, the Federation of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) said credit ratings do not help units in obtaining loans at cheaper rates.
"Banks do not acknowledge the ratings when it comes to MSME," FISME Secretary General Anil Bhardwaj said adding most of the rated units were not getting renewals of the awards.
MSME sector contributes about 45 per cent of India's total manufactured output, and close to 40 per cent to the country's exports. The industry employs about 6 crore million people.

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