Sitharaman defends 2% rate cut to boost SMEs credit

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Defending her demand for two percent cut in interest rates by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said it is essential to boost small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and create jobs.

“My comment about SMEs, their access to credit is based on real environment in which SMEs are doing business… World over interest rate is low… Equally, income generation/ jobs are important,” she said in a series of tweets.

Sitharaman, who had recently pitched for an interest rate cut by 200 basis points to help the sector but seen her demand attract criticism that such a step would drastically affect interest income from fixed deposits, said that SMEs invest from their own and families resources but they create jobs with minimum or no support from commercial banks.

Bankers’ understanding of SME business needs a relook, she said.

“…for long periods, if rates remain high who can afford borrowing?,” she tweeted replying to two tweets by an individual: “Have you suggested 2 per cent cut in repo rate? Are you aware how will it affect the rate of interest on FDs?… Since you will probably never contest a direct election in your life, you are not really in tune with the mood of common people.”

On not contesting elections directly, Sitharaman, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka. said: “My contesting any (direct/indirect) election is my party’s decision”.



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