HC seeks Centre's stand on inclusion of Water Sector under Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme

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New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has sought central government's stand on the plea seeking inclusion of Drinking Water and Waste Water Management Sectors under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS). Justice Prateek Jalan asked counsel for Centre to take instructions and assist the court on the next date of hearing on July 29.

'Copy of the petition and this order be served upon Kirtiman Singh, learned Standing Counsel for the UOI, who is requested to take instructions and assist the Court on the next date of hearing', the judge said in the July 12 order. Water Alliance India and Nangloi Water Services Pvt. Ltd moved the high court claiming that exclusion of water sector, which is part of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), from availing the benefits under ECLGS violates the fundamental rights conferred under Article 19 and Article 14 of the Constitution.

In the absence of ECLGS being extended to them, Drinking Water and Waste Water Management Sectors would be compelled to shut operations which would lead to an adverse impact on its workforce as well as the public at large, the petition submitted.

While Water Alliance India claims to be an organised group of MSMEs involved in diverse fields in the water sector, Nangloi Water Services oversees improvement and revamping of existing water supply system on behalf of the Delhi Jal Board.

ECLGS was introduced under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package of Government to ameliorate the credit crunch and reduce the cost of funds for MSMEs and other business enterprises, so that they can tide over the COVID- 19 crisis.

In their petition filed through advocate Arjun Syal, the two petitioners have asserted that MSMEs and other small businesses involved in the drinking water and waste water management sectors have been excluded from the scheme without any rational basis, in spite of water being an essential commodity and drinking water and waste water management sectors being of public utility.

“ECLGS was modified, and its scope was expanded time and again to include sectors which were stressed on account of the ever-changing impact of COVID-19, and second, the KV Kamath Committee report only provided an illustrative and non-exhaustive list of 26 sectors to avail the benefit of the ECLGS”, the petition said. The petition highlights that ECLGS has undergone modifications from time to time to include fresh sectors under it and is therefore “fluid” on account of the severity and impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs and small business enterprises.

Further, since the construction sector, of which drinking water and waste water management is a major component, has already been given the benefit under ECLGS, the latter also be afforded the same benefit, it submitted. PTI ADS RKS RKS RKS

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