We are planning our own college outreach programme

Written by Rajat Arora | Updated: Jul 18 2014, 07:22am hrs
Kalraj Mishra, Union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises, says the key focus of his ministry is on promoting entrepreneurship. For that the ministry plans to reach out to the youth in urban and rural areas in various ways. Private sector players would also be roped in for the task. In an interview with FEs Rajat Arora, Mishra says the proposed R10,000-crore fund, announced in the Union Budget, to promote start-ups will have a huge multiplier effect. Excerpts:

The Prime Minister has said that the MSME sector has to fuel the growth engine if India wants to become a manufacturing hub. How do you propose to achieve that

Our ministry focuses on creation of entrepreneurship. If you see the number of students passing out of colleges and universities every year, it is huge, and all of them cant get jobs. Our ministry is now reaching out to colleges and universities to get quality students take on entrepreneurship and create jobs. We are simplifying the processes. The capital from R5 lakh to R25 lakh and even up to R1 crore would be made easily available. We want these youngsters to come up with new ideas. We are planning to start our own college outreach programme where well facilitate these young minds to start something of their own. Brand India can only be built if our youth start their own ventures as per their capabilities and education. The ministry will be focusing more on small towns and villages. More skill development and training centres have to be opened. People have to be made aware about all the schemes. The cottage industry has to be revived. More schemes have to be launched. So, its a big task ahead and I think with the determination of this government, and under the leadership of Narendra Modi, it will be made possible.

Untill now the ministrys stress has been on hardcore manufacturing sectors. E-commerce and other technical areas have been the major job creators in recent times. Whats the road map for these areas

We cant ignore that information and technology has been the fastest growing sector in the recent past. Our ministry has already started working towards exploring the potential of this sector. Recently, we gave a suggestion to the information and broadcasting ministry that the set-top boxes that are being imported can be manufactured in India as well. In coming years, well be importing set-top boxes worth R12,000 crore. If these boxes are manufactured here by the small and medium enterprises it will give an impetus to manufacturing here, and lakhs of people would get job. The I&B ministry has agreed to our suggestion and so has the communications ministry. Well be providing some benefits to the SMEs interested in manufacturing these boxes. Just like this, if young people want to start some e-commerce venture or software development companies, our ministry will make capital available to them and give other infrastructural support. Well be having special programmes at polytechnics and other institutes to train people in such segments. Even for the village youth who are not so well-educated, well start skill development workshops where theyll be trained in mobile and laptop repairing, So, theres no dearth of ideas in the ministry, only that we have to implement them properly in the next five years.

Theres a huge gap between the skills needed by the industry and skills being imparted by your ministry. Cant we have the private sector training the youth to set up ancillary units

The next big thing of this government would be public-private partnership in micro, small and medium industries. Well be inviting private players to invest in training centres, which would impart training as per market needs. They can also do it as corporate social responsibility. The mantra of this government is public-private partnership and there cant be no better sector for this than the MSME, which would create social and economical infrastructure for the countrys growth.

Is the ministry also focusing on research & development so that new sectors could be explored

We have tie-ups with several IITs and other similar research institutes. We want new product categories to be created and thus theres a need to invest in research & development. We are planning to work towards developing high technology. Well be setting up tool rooms for that. The blueprint is being prepared by the ministry.

The Budget has set aside R10,000 crore as entrepreneurship fund. How will it be utilised

The SMEs found a major mention in the Budget, with the finance minister announcing a series of measures to promote entrepreneurship in the country. In order to create a conducive eco-system for venture capital in the sector, the FM has proposed to establish a R10,000-crore fund, which would act as a catalyst to attract private capital, by providing equity, quasi equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-up companies. Our calculation is that this R10,000 crore would infuse R75,000 crore in the industry as an entrepreneur would be investing some of his savings and also borrowing from banks for the start-up. So there will be a multiplier effect by almost 7.5 times. And lakhs of people would utilise the fund; our rough calculation is that R8 lakh would be needed per business. The MSME sector mainly owned or run by SCs, STs and OBCs needed focus. For this purpose, the finance minister has proposed to appoint a committee with representatives from the finance ministry, ministry of MSME and RBI to give concrete suggestions in three months. A new definition of MSME was being framed. There will be a change in the parameters that denote a company as micro, small or medium enterprise. The MSME ministry has also been seeking a single-window clearance mechanism along with setting specific time-frames for grant of loans, easier labour laws and simplification of processes as a part of the road map to revitalise the sector.