'918 workers laid off till August 2008': Minister

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) Altogether 918 workers were laid off this year up to August 2008 while the number of workers affected stood at 7,189 in 2006 and 3,894 in 2007, Minister of state for Commerce and Industry Ashwani Kumar told the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply during the Question Hour, he said according to the data compiled by the Labour Bureau, Shimla, under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as against a total of 168 industrial units that were closed down in 2006, the number stood at 91 units in 2007 and 23 units up to August this year.

Data of the Reserve Bank of India showed that there were 1,14,132 sick micro and small enterprises (SMEs) in the country at the end of March 2007.

He said various measures had been taken to facilitate timely identification and rehabilitation of potentially viable sick MSEs including setting up of state level inter institutional committee in 2002, as per the RBI guidelines on early detection of sickness and taking remedial measures and for rehabilitation of sick MSEs identified as potentially viable.

The measures ranged from change in the definition of sick MSEs, norms for deciding their viability and concessional lending, the Minister added.

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