Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra, Narayan Tatu Rane took charge of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) on Thursday. Rane succeeds Nitin Gadkari, another senior BJP leader from Maharashtra.
Rane, 69, was the chief minister of Maharashtra for a short stint in 1999 in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government. He had been a six-time MLA and one-time MLC in Maharashtra and had served as cabinet minister handling important portfolios such as industries, revenue, ports and animal husbandry.
He takes charge of the MSME Ministry at a crucial time as the sector has been among the most affected business segments amid the Covid pandemic. The sector has been among the core focus of the government in its financial support announcements made in the past year, including a separate resolution framework for MSMEs. The government came with the much-talked-about loan guarantee scheme for MSMEs and other eligible borrowers to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
Last month the central government enlarged the scope of ECLGS (Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme) by providing an additional spending limit of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Accordingly, the overall cap of admissible guarantee under the scheme was raised from Rs 3 lakh crore announced in May 2020 to Rs 4.5 lakh crore now. The ECLGS was launched in May 2020 as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package. Rane has been serving the public in elected offices in different capacities for over 35 years now. Before that, he had served in the Income Tax Department from 1971 to 1984.