by Rajen KumarMiddlemen Rule PSU Banks
The Union Finance Ministrys recent advisory to the public sector banks to take a tough stand while sanctioning loans to the corporate houses is, to say the least, amusing. The advisory,...
Special ReportsOct 2013
Association of Healthcare Providers India AHPI represents the vast majority of healthcare providers in India to work as not for profit organization for advocacy with...
Middlemen Rule PSU Banks
The Union Finance Ministrys recent advisory to the public sector banks to take a tough stand while sanctioning loans to the corporate houses is, to say the least, amusing. The advisory, hastened by the PSU banks dwindling profits and increasing NPAs, however, fails to acknowledge the fact that the very working of most of such banks is questionable. While the private sector banks have been able to check their NPAs, the health of most of the PSU Banks continues to deteriorate by each fiscal.
Challenge of Employment
Kulwant Singh had to close down his factory in Punjab which was manufacturing air mattresses to start selling Chinese mattresses which come at a cheaper price. I could have produced better material at cheaper cost but then our compliance norms are so needless. I am happy to get rid of the volley inspectors who were eating out on my viability as a manufacturing unit, he confided in me.
Need to improve on Patient Safety and Affordability
Patient Safety has emerged as one of the major concerns all over the world and more so among the developing nations. About 1000 babies die in India every day on the day they are borne. More than 200 young women die out of 100,000 live births for want of adequate patient safety measures. India has about 9.5 million deaths a year.
Time to Leap into Future & Faith
We draw inspiration from life most frivolous moments. Things which have always been around us but never noticed and suddenly fall into perspective and get amplified. One late evening while working on the 5th anniversary issue features I was wondering what should be the next level for the magazine. How do we add more value for our readers?
Rot, deepening by the day!!
We hold our heads high when sportsmen bring laurels to the nation. But we have every reason to hang our heads in shame when our elected representatives begin to betray the people and play with the nation. This is the stark scenario as of today.
Long Live Literacy; Down with Education
Last year four young students of a leading Delhi-based Institute offering courses in mass communication were referred to our office for mandatory internship. Armed with neatly spaced out computer printouts with the identical objective \'to work in a challenging environment to achieve all-round excellence.\'
National Manufacturing Policy: SMEs Hold the Key
In the midst of sagging economy (latest reports say the GDP has crashed to 5%, the lowest in a decade), government recently issued norms for setting up National Investment Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) with a host of benefits in an attempt to promote manufacturing in the country with special focus on Small and Medium Enterprises.
Dildaar or Daag-daag? Redefining Delhi's Tagline?
Rather than forward a mail, which disturbed me no ends, to the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, I have thought it prudent that I share it with my readers. For, I am not sure if the mail would be replied to, much less read, by the Chief Minister; but my readers would. The mail represents our collective anguish to an extent.
CSR is an Investment
Corporate Social Responsibility is not a new concept as it has been in practice since time immemorial. In India too, many corporate have been freely discharging their social responsibility for a long time now. However, with the changing socio-economic scenario, the awareness towards CSR is growing.
Union Budget 2013 - MSMEs Sector Left High & Dry
While presenting the budget recommendations what the Finance Minister Chidambaram did not speak was more explicit and reflected his utter bewilderment at the nation's worsening fiscal scenario. The expectations of the sprawling MSMEs sector, nay, the 'aam' entrepreneur were belied, yet again. The budget fails to offer a roadmap for the growth of millions of entrepreneurs in the MSMEs spectrum.
SOS for Nutritional Security?
The National Food Security Bill cleared by a parliamentary committee recently says 75% of the rural population and 50% of the poor in urban India - about 800 million people - will be entitled to five kilos of subsidized grain per month. Rice will be made available at Rs. 3 a kilo; wheat will cost Rs. 2 a kilo and cereal will be sold for Rs. 1 per kilo. No stress is laid on the nutritional security of the teeming suffering Indians.
CSR by Law: A Shame for India inc
We don't know if the Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot said it in shame or pride that “ India will become the first country to mandate CSR spend through a statutory provision” in his reply to a debate before the Company Bill aimed at overhauling corporate governance norms was passed in the Lok Sabha last month. To a nation whose India Inc spending on advertising alone is over 50,000 crores annually to promote their business interests, making them spend on social causes by law cannot be more shameful.
MSMEs sector Cries Foul
An SME 'summit' organized in Delhi by a leading Industry organization bared open the present state of the MSMEs sector of India. The event named 'Global Summit' was a two-day rendezvous, well-publicized, attracted various delegates and also a few international organizations. “We came here to address the Indian small entrepreneurs and also looked forward to have a meaningful interaction with them but we hardly found 'small entrepreneurs here,” an overseas sponsor-participant confided in us. Of course the event was packed with all the ingredients of a 'summit' – top-of-the-line speakers including high officials from the Ministry of MSME, well-attired audience of professionals, bankers, service providers but the entrepreneurs for whom the caucus was meant. We cannot single out this particular event as day in and day out Seminars, Conventions, Summits are organized in the name of 'MSMEs' leaving little behind to benefit the sprawling sector 'which drives our economy'.
Political Upheaval Leading to Instability
Recent past has seen Indian polity lose its sheen, and politicians their credibility. Never before have Indians witnessed politicians being flung filth at as they see today. The season of scams, as everyone feels, has dawned on the country. Politicians' deeds are being dug up exposing them in their evil avatar. The issue of corruption among the politicians of the day is looming large. Reeling under the rising cost of living, the frustrations of a common man are becoming more and more visible. Besides, the new environment of uncertainty is having its effect on trade and industry.
FDI: Raw Deal for MSMEs sector
What will be the impact of FDI on MSMEs sector has become a matter of debate everywhere. While the Public Procurement Policy was announced with much fanfare, its actual implementation is shrouded in doubts. Even though setting its own house in order remains a far cry, the government has provided another lollypop to the sector by asking the FDI players to procure 30% of their purchases 'preferably' from the MSMEs sector. The cap 'preferably' tells it all and reveals how serious the government is about the sector. While the Ministry of MSMEs wins the dubious distinction of being the only ministry with three secretaries and four ministers changing seats in the last four years leaving the ministry like an orphaned child, the sector remains mired in uncertainty.
Fooling Around With Literacy
Despite government's much flaunted programmes, India's literacy rate has increased only "sluggishly," and according to a 1990 study it was estimated that it would take as far as 2060 for India to achieve universal literacy at the current rate. Literacy stands for functional literacy and it means a literate knowing the 3Rs i.e reading, writing and arithmetic.
Ignored & Adrift! Still, Hope Flickers!
It's hard to stomach the lamentable fact that with a world acknowledged economist, Dr Man Mohan Singh, at the helm of affairs, a segment of economy which is the lifeline to development of the country is hardly known outside the corridors it works in Udyog Bhawan; is sidelined as a necessary adjunct, if not an evil.
Where are the Statesmen?
As young lads we heard with great awe tales of the legendary bandits -Sultana 'Daku' and 'Daku' Man Singh. They used to rob the rich and the mighty of their ill-gotten wealth to help the poor and the needy. They lived and died with loyalties and of course 'ethics'. Such was their influence that even today in the entire state of Madhya Pradesh Man Singh is revered and remembered as 'Raja Man Singh'.
The Unbanked Tiny Entrepreneurs
A few days ago, a cycle rickshaw owner approached a lady in our neighbourhood with a request to keep his weekly earnings in safe custody as he has no safe place to keep cash. He would 'deposit' Rs.1000 to Rs.2000 at regular intervals and take back a sizeable amount whenever he would make trip to his native village in Bihar.
No Escaping Social Media
Running a magazine concentrating on issues of small and medium enterprises and managing with limited resources is a like living life on the edge. In this rush of meeting deadlines, getting things done and multi-tasking we often overlook certain fundamental details.
Constitute Public Procurement Authority
It is not surprising that the budget bag had nothing for the nation's strong MSMEs sector. The union budget reaffirms the fact that the government is blind to the sector which so proudly provides a spine to the economy. We are not hesitant to say that despite the 'government's' attitude, the sector of over 40 million entrepreneurs continues to thrive affording our national development a hand to hold.
Amend the MSMED Act and Move On
By the time you finish reading this piece; almost 120 new citizens would be added to India's population. Somewhere in the country, about ten new enterprises would be set up, about Rs. Three billion worth of business transacted, some new innovation taken place. Imagine what sea change in our life and living has taken place in the last five years. Bread prices have jumped six times. Steel seven times. Textiles ten times, Cab fare four times. Fuel seven times. Times are moving and so are we.
APEDA Rendering Lip Service
For over four years now, we have been making relentless efforts to fill information deficit that painfully exists in the country's Micro, Small and Medium Sector. Encouragingly enough, SME WORLD has now become almost a brand name winning accolades from all quarters with its reach increasing by the day. “Out of the box”, “Thanks a lot for providing me the much-needed information on the IT sector”, “This is the only magazine giving me useful inputs”, “I am now a well-informed person”, “I didn't know anything about IPR, Thanks to SME WORLD”, “I find your magazine an essential information channel” etc. are some of the comments we have been receiving from entrepreneurs, scholars, industry captains and the like.
New Thoughts for the New Year
Years come and go and New Year resolutions are made and then forgotten. Shaking hands and saying Happy New Year is all we do and soon we find ourselves head down busy in our routine tasks. Make a difference this New Year. We have some meaningful thoughts to share with the entrepreneurs.
Gujarat Shows the Way
While the economists may be dreaming for a double digit growth for Indian economy, Gujarat has been achieving the feat year after year and continues to occupy a distinctive position in the Indian economy. With 5 percent of the country's population and 6 percent of the country's geographical area, Gujarat contributes a creditable 16 percent of industrial production & 22 percent of exports in India to become a leading industrial and progressive state in the country.
Procurement Policy Implementation : Many Holes to be Plugged
With the Union Cabinet's approval of the Procurement Policy requiring the agencies of the central ministries, departments and public sector undertakings, to source at least 20% of their respective annual purchases from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the government has, no doubt, covered a first milestone.
Listen to the Knock
India has come a long way since Independence. It has an industrial workforce to reckon with. It is an acknowledged nuclear power. India's IT industry rules the roost in the world. It's GDP has taken a big leap forward and the double digit growth is on the cards. Today, the world acknowledges India as a super economy in the making.
Will Lokpal Bill Mean an End to Inspectors' Raj?
This is our anniversary issue and we feel proud to lend our total support to the crusade launched by Anna Hazare and his dynamic team against the system of governance which has gone corrupt over the years. Discontent and frustration in the common man has been simmering for a long time and Anna's spark only worked to ignite it into a wild fire.
Micro Finance needs Macro Efforts
The microfinance model in India needs to be fully revamped and re-conceptualized. Microfinance efforts should lead to economic empowerment rather than being mere instruments of financial aids and/or monetary assistance for consumption. Our banks and financial institutions responsible for initiating the task have failed the test.
Next level Bottlenecks
We are set to compete with formidable overseas markets. China is one example which is in the process of replacing more and more Indian produce. We must develop a mechanism which has a direct linkage with the efforts of the entrepreneurs ready to take the next step in his growth agenda. Their isolation will cost the economy dearly.
Crutches for Subsidies: But How will They Learn to Race?
The majority called the small and struggling entrepreneurs in the rural and remote areas are offered a set of crutches, a pittance of a subsidy to somehow hobble but not to be on one's feet, walk, run or race while the big industries, incidentally the cream of tax evaders, are left free to professionalize a paid lobby and hobnob with the policy makers in the corridors of power to sail through. Thus, the recent unearthing of scams, aptly termed as tip of the iceberg, is the unwanted newborn of an illegitimate nexus.
Insulate the small entrepreneur
Corporate with a strong lobby are known to influence government policies which often lean in favour of the strong and the mighty. In a country like India where the industrial activity is labour-intensive, the industrial policies should be framed keeping in mind the needs of the teeming millions of the country. It is a sad fact that despite globalization and opening of economy, the poverty club of the country is inflating.
Time to Make All Lending Transparent
Why RBI can't make it mandatory for all banks and financial institutions otherwise bubbling with funds to declare on their website an explicit account of the lending. How much funds are available, whom have they funded and how many entrepreneurs applied and the reasons for their rejections.
Pranab da, we were talking about tax refroms, not tax forms for MSMEs
Keep the INSPECTOR, Remove the RAJ
The Inspector Raj still reigns supreme and the bright-eyed men belonging to Sales Tax, Excise, Boiler, Labour, Octroi, VAT, Pollution Control, Police and many other departments continue to throng our mostly micro and small entrepreneurs running factories and other manufacturing and trading units across the country.
You Rock My Chair; I Rock Yours !
Corporate sector's growth alone cannot lead to inclusive growth without a robust SMEs sector. Prime Minister didn't mention a word about the SMEs sector mired deep down in a well of uncertainties. Sustained planning is needed for sustainable growth. Otherwise, let's be happy by rocking each other's chair.
Trade Fairs Are Not for Trading
For ITPO, trade fairs are yet a business proposition, not a promotional activity. The IITF seems to be fast losing its luster. Times have changed and let the organization has a new ecosystem which justifies its very name.
Developed India for Developing Indians
The US President put a stamp of confirmation on the certificate that India is a powerhouse albiet a developed country. However, his remarks that India, as a developed nation, will have to discharge its responsibility of being an economic leader raise many questions.
Do we really need engineers for clerical jobs?
The fact that our aspiring engineers are compelled to take up clerical jobs stems from the fact that there is a looming insecurity amongst the youth. They are still attracted towards ‘pucca’ jobs for life-long security. That means taking to entrepreneurship is yet insecure in our country and we have failed to raise an ecosystem where the economic pillars of tomorrow i.e. India’s 60% of population, can flourish and make our economy stand on a firm footing.
Nation Shames Its Own SMEs
Who would believe that India doesn’t have a single enterprise who could develop and produce napkins and umbrellas for the commonwealth games? As it is, there was enough time since it was decided nearly four years ago that India would finally host the games. Why did not the organizing committee act swiftly and allowed sufficient time to the Indian enterprises to produce merchandise of international standards? The big question is why was the crisis situation created and orders were placed in the nick of time?
Skilling the Nation
Raising and utilizing the vast infrastructure – setting up training institutes, skills centers for rural areas, monitoring and upgrading the sick and decaying technical centers, building a force of trainers for the trainers is a massive task. For NSDC, working on a PPP model may be an experiment. The future may belong to working on the PPP mode for governance in the industry and elsewhere but making ready millions with skills and training to generate employment to bring about economic prosperity for the nation is another thing.
Media Motives and Report Cards?
The Minister of MSME was made to don a saddle of an injured and limping horse – the MSMEs sector - which has been the victim of sheer neglect until recently. It was only in the last two years that the sector claiming a sizeable share in the productivity and exports came under the focus of the government and trade and economic institutions and media too.
CSR: Who Cares?
World Bank report says that every second Indian is poor. Government of India, as if in pride, says that every third, not second, Indian is poor. Let us accept both and say that over 400 million Indians are living below the poverty line. The bitter fact remains that even after more than 60 years of Independence India still has the world\\\\\\\'s largest number of poor people in a single country.
Need to Make Assistance Schemes Entrepreneur-Friendly
If our government is keen to promote and assist our entrepreneurs to go in for international exposure then why can not it make such schemes entrepreneur-friendly and which are truly encouraging? The cumbersome procedures and the role of our babus have to be checked.
SME Exchange: Merchant Bankers Hold the Key
Things seem to be in place for the SME Exchange to become a reality. SEBI is all set to give final guidelines soon as we understand. Merely starting the Exchange is unlikely to solve problems of the SMEs sector. How soon and how far the Exchange will become viable before it starts attracting investments is a big question.
Half-Open Door for MSMEs
In view of the overall national realization and recognition of the important role played by the MSMEs sector in the national economic development, the Finance Minister only opened the door half way for sector in his union budget with flashes of hope notwithstanding.
Where are the Professionals for Small Enterprises?
A young professional after he passes out from the institute must be allowed to go through stages of advancements in his career. It must be a gradual process. Let him weather seasons before he becomes strong and confident enough to be a professional with proven abilities.
Declare 2010 'Year of the Small Entrepreneur'
It is only recently that the government has woken up to realise the importance of entrepreneurship and has started garnering more interest with considerable efforts to improve the lot of our neglected entrepreneur.
Illiteracy Ails Our Entrepreneurs
India has a fund of talent and capability in our millions of micro entrepreneurs who quietly work from their homes producing world class master pieces in a variety of handicrafts. No attention has been given to such small entrepreneurs carrying a big potential for exporting their produce.
Aiming Without Target
Suddenly, the poor MSME sector has come in sharp focus everywhere. All trade and industry and government channels are talking SMEs, organizing Seminars and Meets and Round Table conferences seriously deliberating and showing concern on the step-motherly treatment being meted out to the sector.
Sixty two years on; Rural Banking is still a Far Cry
India has more than 6 lakh villages. Only 9000 villages have more than one bank branch. There are only a little over 32000 rural bank branches which account for about 45 percent of the total branch network.
SMEs Need Action, Not a Task Force !
We have deadlines carefully set for metro-rails, commonwealth games etc. but we have not chosen to set aside any deadline for affording a better deal to our smaller enterprises which form one of the largest employment sector and which contributes a whopping share in the industrial output of our nation.
Who patronises the products by small entrepreneurs? None. We happily patronise products by jail-inmates and put up their exhibitions but the small entrepreneur in India lives like an orphan. Why can't our railways, defence canteens and Kendriya Bhandars start selling proven quality products produced by our MSMEs? Who prevents our state assemblies and our parliament to patronise consumer products made by small entrepreneurs? Our rural agro industry - the lifeline of our economy - is languishing for want of strong market back-up. It seems we are bent upon patronising maggis and Nestles.
SMEs : National Frustration
The Congress manifesto assured the nation on giving a new deal to SMEs and the first generation entrepreneurs. However, the Congress Party seems to have forgotten this as the union budget proposals announced by the Finance Minister has failed millions of hopeful entrepreneurs in the SME sector with no tangible relief coming their way.
Time to deliver
The UPA government is firmly in the saddle. It is all set to govern the world's most populous democracy for the second consecutive turn. So intense was the enthusiasm that it set a 100-day agenda for its ministers to show a sample of what is to be done in the next 1700 days.
Who will help Sanjay?
Sanjay clicked the button on the keyboard to put his desktop in stand by mode as his colleagues gathered around him with their lunch packs to head for the grub. Sanjay was happy as his first stint in the software house was completing six months.
Micro Entrepreneurs Need a Breather
Not long ago, it was a rosy time for our economists. We talked of unavoidable 'double-digit growth', 'India Shining', the 'booming economy' and we have been trying to sell ourselves to outsiders as 'incredible India'. Today the world economy suffers multiple fractures and the two all powerful economies the US and the formidable India and China- are shaken to the core.
Entrepreneurship: Swimming without a Pool
Indian students going abroad for their higher studies cost the country the precious foreign exchange outflow of over $10 billion annually. Our country is losing another few billions of forex when professionals like doctors, engineers, physiotherapists, architects and others complete their studies in India and take up jobs abroad. Making a doctor costs the state exchequer nearly a million rupees.
Enjoy the Recess
Our economy is facing a recess period- a temporary cessation from work. What makes the economy different from school time is that in the economy the recess is not fixed. Sometimes it comes too early and at times after a long gap. But recessions do come.
Protect the Small Businesses
Ever since independence, our country has had to face crises of a variety of nature. We have fought four major wars, suffered natural calamities, witnessed communal frenzies etc. All have had their toll on life and property.
Emulate the Entrepreneurs of Yore
Business is not all about making money. Where are the good old days when industrialists of yore felt duty-bound to share their booty and extend their arms to the poor and the needy? Our traditional corporate houses of the ilk of the Birlas, the Tatas, the Srirams etc. have done yeoman service to humankind and went all out to set up institutions as edifices of social progress and change.
Defuse The Food Bomb
When the lights are finally switched off on the glint and glare of the 30-day commonwealth sports rendezvous in the winter of 2010, the vendors, freshly treated to a 'make over' as a cosmetic exercise for the city's 'clean' look may not have the last laugh.
- Winner of appreciation award for promoting SMEs in India.
- 1st ever Indian magazine to penetrate tier II, III cities & the rural belt.
- Industry Partnerships include CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHDCC, AIMA, ITPO, SME Network, Federation of Indian Micro Small Enterprises (FISME)
- Official Magazine Partners for several national & international MSME events.
The Last Word
Of the 80 odd seasons that he has been through, he savoured less springs and suffered more rains, proverbially. Not that time took a toll on his age, it was his own siblings who dumped, nay disowned,...
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