By – Jaya Laxmi : There is growing evidence all over the world that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in the national economic development of any country. They provide majority of new jobs and produce much of the creativity and innovation that fuels economic progress. The extra growth over the past several years throughout the industrialized countries has been due to the growth of SMEs.
In India, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) is implementing the promotional schemes for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises. The schemes and programmes generally focus on capacity building in states and regions, nevertheless, there are a few schemes and programmes, which are individual beneficiary-oriented. While there are no specific reservations for women, in the latter, there are some concessions/incentives available under these programmes for the benefit of women entrepreneurs. In respect of entrepreneurship/skill development training programmes, under the National Awards for Entrepreneurial Development (Quality Products) and Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) Programme for women, the necessary guidelines have been issued and specific reservation provided for women. Similarly, under two employment generation programmes being implemented by the Ministry like Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) and Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), some concessions have been provided for women beneficiaries. Besides, the Coir Board is implementing the Mahila Coir Yojana, which is a women oriented self-employment programme.
T R E A D
The Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance And Development (TREAD) scheme for women envisages economic empowerment of women through development of their entrepreneurial skills in non-farm activities. The government’s grants up to 30 per cent of the total project cost is provided to the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for promoting entrepreneurship among women. The remaining 70 per cent of the project cost is financed by the lending agency as loan for undertaking activities as envisaged in the project. Further, the government grants up to Rs.1 lakh per programme is provided to training institutions/NGOs for imparting training to the women entrepreneurs. Under this scheme, proposals involving grant of Rs.51.65 lakh to 16 NGOs / institutions, have been approved for benefiting 1700 women.
R E G P
Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) is a flagship scheme of the government for employment generation programmes in the unorganized sector. Though there are no specific reservation for women entrepreneurs under this scheme, still there has been substantial participation (around 30 per cent) of women as a result of the promotional efforts undertaken in this regard. Under this programme, 3,656 projects of women entrepreneurs involving margin money of Rs. 6397.99 lakh have been assisted as government grant during 2007-08 up to December 2007.
During 2006-07, the participation of women in terms of employment generation under Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), was 16.5 per cent. Under the scheme, preference is given to women beneficiaries. The government also made several relaxations to women to facilitate the participation of women beneficiaries.
Mahila Coir Yojana
Mahila Coir Yojana is a woman-oriented self-employment scheme in the coir industry, which provides self-employment opportunities to the rural women artisans in regions producing coir fibre. The scheme envisages distribution of motorized ratts for spinning coir yarns to women artisans after giving training. Women spinners are trained for two months in spinning coir yarn on motorized ratt at the Coir Board’s training centers. A stipend of Rs.500 per month is also paid to the trainees. The Coir Board provides motorized ratts / motorized traditional ratts at 75 per cent cost subsidy, subject to a maximum, ceiling of Rs.7,500/- for motorized ratts and Rs.2,925/- for traditional ratts. During 2007-08, up to December 2007, 1,042 ratts have been distributed.
Training Of Women Entrepreneurs
The industrial policies of the government announced from time to time, have laid considerable emphasis on promotion of women entrepreneurship, particularly among first generation women entrepreneurs, through various training and support services. Special attention is being given by organizing exclusive Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs) for women. During 2007-08 upto December 2007, approximately 15,000 women participated in these training programmes. In addition to programmes and schemes of MSME, NSIC, KVIC and Coir Board relating to conduct of EDPs and SDPs for benefit of potential women entrepreneurs, three national level entrepreneurship development institutes set up by the Ministry, particularly Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), Guwahati, are also undertaking training programmes for skills and entrepreneurship development for women. The National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Noida, has conducted seven training programmes exclusively for 227 women participants during 2007-08.
In March 2007, the Government has announced a comprehensive Package for the Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises, which comprises several proposals and schemes having direct impact on the promotion and development of the micro and small enterprises. These, inter alias, include credit and fiscal support, cluster-based development, infrastructure, technology and marketing support. Capacity building of MSME Associations and support to women entrepreneurs are the other important features of this Package.
Enhanced Credit Flow To The MSE Sector
For strengthening the delivery of credit to the MSEs, the Government announced a ‘Policy Package for Stepping up Credit to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)’ in August 2005 for doubling the credit flow to this sector within a period of five years. This has resulted in a significant increase in the credit flow from Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to the micro and small enterprises (MSE) sector — with the outstanding credit of public sector banks increasing from Rs.58, 278 crore at the end of March 2004 to Rs.1,48, 651 crore at the end of March 2008.
The Government has taken up skill development as a high priority area through various measures like enhancing the training capabilities of the Tool Rooms, MSME Development Institutes and other organization under the Ministry of MSME. The agencies under the Ministry of MSME conducted programmes for skill development for nearly 1.8 lakh trainees during 2007-08 and the targets set for 2008-09 is 3 lakh persons. The Ministry of MSME provides all such trainings for SCs/STs, free of cost. Similar programmes are also being organized for women and other weaker sections of the society free of cost, besides providing a monthly stipend of Rs.500/- per month during the entire period of training.
Cluster Development Programme
For the last few years, the Government has been focusing on the strategy of Cluster Development for development of the MSEs – through which different ‘clusters’ and concentrations of enterprises are given the benefit of a whole variety of interventions ranging from exposure to skill development, from credit to marketing and from technological improvements to better designs and products. About 412 clusters have been approved for interventions under the scheme (including 50 clusters for hard interventions, 152 clusters for soft interventions and 210 clusters for diagnostic studies).
Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana
The new scheme was launched on February 7, 2008. The main objective of the scheme is to promote and support establishment of micro and small enterprises through handholding of potential first generation entrepreneurs, who have already successfully completed Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP), Skill Development Programme (SDP) etc.
Sick Small Scale Industries
The total number of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the country as on 31st of March 2007 is estimated to be 1,28,46,365. As per data compiled by the Reserve Bank of India from the scheduled commercial banks, the number of sick MSEs at the end of March 2008 is 85,187.
National Fund For Unorganised Sector
The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) in one of its reports has recommended creation of a National Fund for the unorganized sector. The Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri Mahabir Prasad informed Parliament that while a final view on the creation of this fund is yet to be taken, a token provision in the Budget 2009-10 has been proposed. He said that the MSME has continued to contribute significantly in the gross domestic product, industrial production, employment generation and exports and has acquired a prominent place in the economy of the country.