I am really delighted to participate in a programme organized by the Union Ministry of MSME to interact with stake holders of National SC/ST Hub Confluence. Country will be developed when the downtrodden and under-privileged sections of this country are uplifted. Only then will the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay, government’s ambition of ‘Sabka saath - Sabka Vikas’ are fulfilled. Unless all the sections of the society are developed, we cannot shape a developed country. There is no meaning for development unless it reaches everybody. Everyone should feel that he or she has a stake in the development of the country. We need to have an integrated, multi-dimensional developmental agenda for the development of the country.
Setting up of industries is important for the development of our country. This will solve the unemployment problem and increase the income. Industry and agriculture are the two eyes of the people. Both of them are important for the overall development of the country. There is a need to encourage small industries along with big ones to full-fill the dream of ‘Sab ka Saath – Sab ka Vikas’.
I am happy to know that we have about 22 lakh small scale industries in our country and the number is increasing every year. In 2007 about 2 lakh small scale industries were set up in the country. This number went on increasing year after year and at present about 4 lakh small and medium industries are coming up in our country. Mainly small, micro industries are coming up. If we look at number of SC and STs in this, there is only about 4 lakh. This number has to be increased. It is important to encourage them and provide technical knowledge and market to sell the finished products. With this aim, the government has come up with SC/ST Hub.
The government has made a policy that whatever the items they purchase, they should be at least 4 per cent should be from SC/ST units. But today, we have less than half per cent being procured from SC/ST units.
The national discourse today has changed. We talk of Stand-up, Start-up, Incubation and Innovation. This focus on skills, entrepreneurial development should get further momentum. Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Clean India – all these programmes should reach every section of our society and everybody must get their due. Only then will the development have meaning. If you do not reach certain sections of the people, then the development is incomplete. Capacity building is important; credit availability is important, technology up-gradation is also important.
Empowering women is empowering entire humanity, because women constitute 50 per cent of the population. We cannot claim to be a developed country unless women are given equal opportunities. In the same way, we cannot claim our country is developed when there are sections which are deprived, and have been denied the opportunity to join the developmental stream. So this is the duty of any government to uplift those sections.
This effort is for the overall development of India. All have to take part in this. This should be taken as a sacred responsibility. Only then will the development of SC/ST will take place.
The Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Sector (MSME) is the bulwark of the Indian economy and one of the largest employers after agriculture. It is also one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP.
In spite of ups and downs, MSME sector showed resilience and maintained a good growth rate ranging from11.77 per cent in 2007-08 to 17 per cent in 2015. It showed an impressive growth of 18.74 per cent from April-September 2015.
With Make in India envisaging to push contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25 per cent of the GDP by 2022, the MSME sector will be required to play a critical role in achieving the goal.
This sector not only contributes to industrialization of backward and rural areas, but also helps in reducing regional imbalances. By its very nature, this sector acts as an equalizer and offers vast opportunities to people from all walks of life to become successful entrepreneurs and achieve their dreams.
As a result, there have been many entrepreneurs from the marginalized communities. But lack of proper guidance and resources is hampering their economic success and this led to policy intervention from the Government.
As you are all aware, the Public Procurement Policy was introduced with a stipulation that 20 per cent of total procurement of goods and services by Central Ministries, Departments and Central Public Sector Enterprises must be made from MSEs and 20 per cent (four per cent of total) of such procurement from SC/ST owned MSEs.
Although, the procurement policy for sourcing four per cent from SC/ ST was introduced in 2012, the response has not been very encouraging and less than 0.5 per cent of goods were procured. As a result, the government established National SC/ST Hub to provide professional support to entrepreneurs coming from such communities and promote “enterprise culture” among SC/ST population.
I am told that the Hub was tasked to facilitate credit linkages for SC/ST entrepreneurs, provide SC/ST MSEs with access to new markets, and gather data about SC/ST Enterprises, work with the CPSEs, industry associations and SC/ST Enterprises to effectively participate in procurement.
Skill up gradation is one area that requires top attention for the overall development of SC/ ST enterprises. I am glad that today the National SC ST Hub will be signing MoUs with Sector Skill Councils to skill over 2,000 entrepreneurs.
Today, we have amongst us the top industry associations and incubators, who have been working together to empower the marginalized communities of the country. This is the true essence and tradition of our country where everyone works collectively to help the less fortunate.
The associations and incubators have a huge role to play in supporting the objectives of National SC ST Hub. Each association must extend support in building capacities and mentoring entrepreneurs in its respective sector, while the incubators must ensure that the dreams of the aspiring entrepreneurs are turned into reality.
I am sure that the associations and incubators will raise to the occasion and come out with innovative strategies so that the Public Procurement Policy is not only successfully implemented but an effective ecosystem is created for SC/ ST entrepreneurs to thrive and make a significant contribution to the growth of the economy.
I think various State Governments should also come out with Procurement Policies on the lines of the Central Government’s scheme to give a boost to MSME sector in general and SC/ ST enterprises in particular.
I once again thank the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for initiating this very crucial dialogue and I do hope this will be followed up through a time bound action plan to give the much required impetus for SC and ST entrepreneurs to take up new and bigger ventures.