Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, said during a meeting in New Delhi that the MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) sector is significantly well equipped to adapt to the export market and the many changes it is undergoing. The meeting was held on January 6th for the minister to hold discussions with MSME associations regarding several issues plaguing the industry, and how best to address them.
Several important issues were put on the table through the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), SME Chamber of India, and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These included the challenges that SME units face in accessing credit from banks, delay of payments from Public Sector Units and Government departments, GST refund, lack of skilled manpower in the SME sector, disparity in wages in states across the country, and many more.
The Indian MSME sector currently provides employment to more than 100 million people, and is responsible for close to 45% of the country’s manufacturing output and over 40% of its exports. With around 63.4 million such units in operation all over the country, the sector is responsible for contributing to roughly 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the GDP from service activities.
The minister instructed the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the Credit Guarantee Funds Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) to create a framework that cuts down the time needed to process loans to SME units, besides providing insurance cover to SME exporters.
He also addressed manufacturers in the sector, emphasising the need to produce high quality goods that adhere to international standards, so that exports from the sector can also become a part of the global value chain.
In addition, he also discussed the capability of big companies to make complete payment to SMEs against the delivery, so that their working capital is not blocked.
He also suggested that the Government e-Marketplace could provide guidance to women led SMEs and onboard them on the GeM portal, to bring the 8 million Indian women running their own businesses into the mainstream fold. He assured the sector that the government would provide all necessary support for the upskilling of members in the sector.