Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: The Narendra Modi government is looking to turn Indian prisoners into entrepreneurs by helping them set-up small businesses. The MSME Ministry will engage with prisoners once released and will support them through a pilot project, according to PM Parlewar, Director at MSME Development Institute based in Nagpur as reported by PTI. The official said that the pilot project will begin with Nagpur Central Jail. According to the Prison Statistics India — 2017 by National Crime Records Bureau, India had 1,361 prisons with an overcrowded population of over 4.5 lakh prisoners (more than 3.91 lakh of the actual capacity of prisons) at the end of 2017 having an occupancy rate of 115.1 per cent.
The government intends to help prisoners in setting up businesses as they are less likely to get employed because of poor acceptance in society. “When they come out of jail, their acceptance level in society is less in terms of employment,” Parlewar said adding that support will be provided to start new small scale businesses in manufacturing agarbatti, garments, woodwork, fabrication, making kulhads etc. India is the fifth most populated country in terms of the number of prisoners globally with the US (21.2 lakh), China (16.5 lakh), Brazil (7.1 lakh), Russian Federation (5.5 lakh) leading the tally as of July 2019, according to statistics portal Statista.
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Government’s vision to engage and leverage this potential talent chunk comes amid its five-year aim to boost MSME contribution to the country’s GDP to 50 per cent from current 29 per cent and adding 5 crore jobs to the existing 11 crores in the sector. However, credit woes for MSMEs continue to exist. The outstanding credit for FY19 by scheduled commercial banks was up by 14.08 per cent to Rs 15.10 lakh crore from Rs 13.24 lakh crore in FY18 and Rs 12.96 lakh crore in FY17, MSME minister Nitin Gadkari had said in Rajya Sabha recently quoting the RBI data.