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Innovation centre soon for industrial clusters
The Hindu Business Line, 29 March 2012
There are about 5000 industrial clusters that have been doing their bit for the country and produce 45 per cent of goods, but remain largely unsung. Most of these are small and medium units that cannot hire consultants or technical and marketing expertise. Now, the National Innovation Council (NIC) has stepped in. It has announced a 'cluster innovation centre' initiative to help these clusters improve their efficiency and competitiveness. To begin with, it has identified eight clusters, mainly small and medium enterprises, and is providing them necessary linkages to innovate and commercialize their products, Mr Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister on innovation, infrastructure and information, said.

Small enterprises get big attention
The Times of India, 27 March 2012
Following the lines of the state's 'Vision 2023' document released last week, the Tamil Nadu budget has emphasized that the state economy would improve with more Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), higher skilled labour and a push for entrepreneurship. Tamil Nadu, which has the highest number of MSMEs in India, will equip all District Industries Centres in the 32 districts with better infrastructure at a cost of 50 crore. These centres can then serve as a hub to promote MSME units.

Foundry units adopt automation as manpower shortage rises
Business Standard, 22 March 2012
Rajkot-based foundry industry is now moving towards automation amid rising manpower shortage. Moreover, the customer demand has prompted the foundry units to go for automation. According to Rajkot Engineering Association, foundry units in Rajkot have invested more than Rs 50 crore towards automation over the past one year. In addition to this, TERI is also supporting the foundry industry to upgrade their units.  Rajkot houses about 450-500 foundry units with a turnover of about Rs 1,500 crore per annum.

SMEs see a 43% fall in PE investments in Jan-March
Business Standard, 20 March 2012
Private equity (PE) investments in India’s SME sector dropped by 43 per cent to $134 million in 2012 (January to year till date) from $236 million in the corresponding period of 2011. The number of deals fell by 34 per cent during this period. Industry experts said this was a temporary phenomenon and small companies catering to domestic demand would attract more PE investments.

Budget 2012: FM announces credit linked subsidy programme for MSMEs
The Economic Times, 16 March 2012
To encourage micro enterprises, a credit linked subsidy programme namely Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme is being implemented through KVIC, Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee announced in the Union Budget 2012-13. The allocation for this programme has been increased by 23 per cent from Rs 1037 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 1276 crore in 2012-13.

Budget: Rs 5000 crore MSME venture fund
The Financial Express, 16 March 2012
The government today proposed setting up a Rs 5,000 crore venture fund with SIDBI to enhance availability of equity to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). While presenting the Budget for 2012-13, Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee said: "In order to enhance availability of equity to MSME sector, I propose to set up a Rs 5,000 crore India Opportunities Venture Fund with SIDBI."

12th Plan strategy to boost MSME growth mooted
Business Standard, 13 March 2012
The working group on the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) has said that if the sector has to grow, the focus should be on finance, including credit; infrastructure; technology; marketing and procurement; skill development and training; and strengthening institutional structures. The working group was constituted by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and has recommended allocations to the tune of Rs 64,790 crore. The group also said that instead of launching a separate scheme for start-ups, it may be appropriate to address the issues listed above under their respective verticals.

New industrial estates to boost SME growth in Uttarakhand
Business Standard, 6 March 2012
Small and medium enterprises in Uttarakhand are expected to get a big push following the recent transfer of ownership of 18 industrial estates spanning 2,000 acres of industrial land to it by the Uttar Pradesh government. Experts said the move has vast potential to boost the growth of micro and small units in the hill state.  Most of these industrial estates, which are in poor condition, will now be developed by the State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (Sidcul).

Kassia seeks restoration of 15% price preference for SMEs
Business Standard, 29 February 2012
The Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (Kassia) has urged the state government to reinstate 15 per cent price and purchase preference for small-scale industries in order to make them competitive when compared to large and medium enterprises. Kassia has requested the government to reinstate the 15 per cent price and purchase preference and prescribe a procedure as in the case of KSRTC, where if the SME supplier is ready to match L-1 price of a large manufacturer, he should be given preference. The association has also demanded the creation of a new post of development commissioner for SMEs and an independent secretariat for the SME sector to ensure continuity and concentration on the SME sector.

Cloud Computing services: SMEs can reduce computing costs, achieve greater speed
The Economic Times, 28 February 2012
Cloud Computing has emerged as a new area in IT and is at the top of the mind for every chief information officer. SMEs that contribute to one-third of IT investment (as per EMCZinnov study 2012) find Cloud Computing as the most appealing IT feature. As per the EMC-Zinnov study, the Cloud Computing market in India is estimated at around $400 million and is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2015 driven by SMEs that constitute the backbone of Indian economy.

Federation for MSMEs formed
Business Standard, 28 February 2012
The Federation of Andhra Pradesh Small, Medium And Micro Enterprises (Fasmme), a service organisation for the promotion of industrial activities for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) covering all the districts of Andhra Pradesh, was inaugurated recently. Fasmme will address all the issues of the MSMEs in the state, along with supporting new entrepreneurial ventures.

BSE SME exchange by March
Business Standard, 27 February 2012
The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Exchange, promoted by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), is expected to begin operation by March. Mr Lakshman Gugulothu, Chief Executive Officer, announced this while speaking at a seminar on “Listing on SME Exchanges; a new opportunity for raising capital” organized by Cuttack Management Association.

SMEs will define next decade: Infosys' K V Kamath
The Economic Times, 24 February 2012
Infosys non-executive chairman Mr K V Kamath has opined that the next decade will belong to the small and medium enterprises as the growth will move to the hinterlands in future. Admitting that the SME sector needs a slew of support to sustain itself and grow, he said they need technology, modern management practices and easy capital. Pointing out that the economy is driven by rural India, which constitute small businesses, agri, value added businesses, apart from services, he said, "there are whole host of businesses riding on agriculture and going beyond agriculture which are driving rural India. And these are all driven by small and medium entrepreneurs."

Ficci-IIFT paper gives 20-point strategy for SMEs
Business Standard, 23 February 2012
The Ficci-IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) knowledge paper today gave a 20-point strategy for the innovative financing of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to overcome the current bias of banks against lending to SMEs. The knowledge paper, titled 'Innovation Readiness of Indian SMEs: Issues and Challenges', firstly called for the establishment of a strong accounting system and reduce opacity. Further, the report also emphasized on the importance of developing a comprehensive business plan. "The more detailed plan the better chance of a loan getting sanctioned. It also shows your understanding and analysis as well as depth of knowledge in vetting various aspects of the business. It works in resolving certain amount of information asymmetry," said the report.

SMEs to drive PE deals in India, says report
Business Standard, 14 February 2012
India continues to be a small- to medium-sized deal market, with SMEs continuing to be the backbone of most PE investment portfolios in India, according to a recent report by Protiviti Consultants and the Asian Venture Capital Journal. The report, India Investment Opportunity: An Insight, based on a survey of PE fund executives, said that 48 per cent of respondents felt SMEs presented a better value opportunity than other categories of companies, while 40 per cent said it would depend on the sector, and only 12 per cent cited large enterprises.

Persistent systems launches eMee for SMEs
Business Standard, 4 October 2011
Persistent Systems, a player in outsourced software product development services, announced the launch of eMee, an employee engagement platform, specifically developed for SME (small and medium enterprise) and large enterprises with a distributed workforce. eMee, designed and developed using gaming and social networking concepts, helps redefine employee engagement, by offering an intuitive and user friendly platform for interacting with colleagues and peers throughout the organisation.

Online portals line up to assist SMEs
Business Standard, 4 October 2011
SMEs, which have traditionally faced problems in raising funds, now have several online portals – such as biz2credit.in, smehelpline.com and smegetmoney.com – to assist them in this task. These portals have come in to fill the space left vacant by banks and other financial institutions.

BSE gets SEBI nod for SME Exchange
The Hindu, 28 September 2011
SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has granted permission to the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) to launch the much awaited SME (small and medium enterprises) Exchange. The BSE was committed to deliver the best products, services, and asset classes to all our stakeholders and look forward to the success of the SME segment. The new exchange will be a facilitator in raising funds for SMEs.

DIT proposes to set up Rs 500-cr corpus for small-scale sector
The Financial Express, 24 September 2011
The department of information technology proposes to set up a separate Rs 500-crore corpus for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). The fund may be managed by the SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India). The officials of the department and finance ministry met to discuss the formation of this fund. According to an official who was part of the meeting, finance ministry wants SIDBI to manage this fund.

High rate regime likely to push up NPAs of MSME units
Business Standard, 17 September 2011
Rising interest rates joined with low domestic demand and adverse global economic conditions has put micro-small and medium enterprises in tight spot. Gujarat, which houses about 15 per cent of the country's total MSME units, fears a sharp increase in the NPAs in MSME segment during the high rate regime.

Pratibha seeks enabling eco-system for MSMEs
The Hindu, 2 September 2011
Highlighting the need for developing India as a ‘talent hub' through quality training, particularly to those involved in cottage and small industry, President Ms Pratibha Patil asked the government to provide enabling eco-system to micro, small and medium enterprises so that they could grow and prosper in the competitive environment.

MSMEs in Uttar Pradesh & Maharashtra
The Financial Express, 2 September 2011
Two states where the MSME sector has a sizable presence are Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. While Uttar Pradesh has the largest share of MSME enterprises, numbering 31.13 lakh, Maharashtra has the largest number of workers employed in the MSME segment, with 64.65 lakh workers. Uttar Pradesh, though ranks first in the number of enterprises, is ranked fifth in terms of MSME employment (57.91 lakh workers). Maharashtra ranks first in terms of MSME employment, but is third in terms of MSME enterprises (25.82 lakh units).

SMEs need strong security tools
Business Standard, 3 August 2011
With enterprises opening their IT set-ups to cloud deployments, security has become a major concern. Cloud adoption is set to see a boom over the next five years in India. US companies like Google have been at the forefront of getting enterprises to switch to cloud services. Recently, the Indian Youth Congress, Indiamart and Punj Lloyd switched to Google’s cloud services. The ministry has called on IIT, Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade to review its ongoing schemes, such as the Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojna and Assistance to Training Institutions schemes, among others.

MSME seeks more funds in 12th Plan to run schemes effectively
The Economic Times, 3 August 2011
MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) Minister Mr Virbhadra Singh has asked the Finance Ministry to allocate more funds toward schemes for promotion of the sector during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017). While the sector employs 60 million people through 26 million units, it contributes 40 per cent of the country's total exports and 45 per cent of manufacturing output.

ICT can help SMEs to reach out to large markets: Govt
The Times of India, 30 July 2011
Easy and affordable access of ICT (Information and Communication technology) to SMEs would help them in exploring new markets globally. ICT is an enabling tool for any SMEs (small and medium enterprises). The moment you use ICT, you can reach out to large markets, Additional Secretary in the Department of Information Technology Mr N Ravi Shanker said on the sidelines of the Indiamart.com function on SMEs.

Favourable policies will give MSMEs their rightful place as economy's engine
Business Standard, 28 July 2011
There is a growing perception that the country's dream of achieving a transformational growth of 9% and above is contingent upon unleashing a wave of entrepreneurship that would not only aid wealth creation but also help create jobs. And these objectives are best accomplished by providing a fillip to MSMEs. Over the years, there has been a significant rise in the number of MSMEs in the country. The number of operating SSI units, registered with the Directorate of Industries, has gone up from 1.40 lakh units during the first census (1973-74) to 5.82 lakh units during the second census (1987-88). The figure rose to 13.75 lakh units during the third census (2001-02) and nudged 15.28 lakh units during the fourth census (2006-07). Between 2001-02 and 2006-07 , an average of 31,000 registered new units have been added every year while a phenomenal 31 lakh unregistered units have come up across the country. The rise in the number of MSMEs has led to a substantial growth of employment for the workforce.

Facility centres to boost Punjab hand tool industry
Business Standard, 19 July 2011
The hand tools cluster at Jalandhar and Ludhiana, the majority of whose units are in the MSME sector, is likely to get a shot in the arm with the setting up of CFCs (common facility centres). The setting up of CFCs in the two cities, which account for 75-85 per cent of India’s total hand tools exports, will enable MSMEs to get their work outsourced, assist them in adopting new technology and in carrying out research and development. This was a long-pending demand of industrialists.

Karnataka sets up innovation council
Business standard, 9 June 2011
The Karnataka government has set up the State Innovation Council based on the recommendations of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission. A government order was issued to this effect. Khincha, chairman, division of electrical sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will be the chairman of the council, which consists of 16 members. Among the prominent members on the board of the council includes Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya; Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman, Biocon; Dr Pankaj Chandra, Director, IIM-B; Dr Dilip K Ranjekar, CEO, Azim Premji University; Dr R S Deshpande, Director, Indian Institute of Socio Economic Change; Dr S Sadagopan, Director, IIITB.

ASSOCHAM proposes 16 new PPP e-clusters in Orissa at Rs 480 crore
The Economic Times, 8 June 2011
ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) has proposed setting up of 16 new clusters on public-private partnership [PPP] in Orissa each accommodating about 1000 units and providing direct and indirect employment close to 4 lakh people. Releasing the ASSOCHAM study on "Cluster Development for Inclusive Growth in Orissa" National Secretary General, Mr D S Rawat said the total funds required for basic and essential infrastructure to these clusters will be about Rs. 480 crores. Once functional, it will contribute additional 10% revenues per annum to the exchequer, help in inclusive growth and simultaneously lead to upgradation of existing clusters.

Uttar Pradesh needs to bring more investments in agriculture, MSME sector: CII
The Economic Times, 6 June 2011
While observing that Uttar Pradesh as a state has not received its proportionate share of investments, the Chairman CII Northern Region Mr Vijay Thadani said that it would be working closely with the government to promote industry friendly policies so that the state can receive a larger share of investments.

Bhel's 20 local vendors to switch business model
Business Standard, 26 April 2011
In the new ‘away centre fabrication’ model vendors have to purchase raw material from company-approved suppliers. The Tiruchi unit of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) expects around 20 of its 500 local vendors to switch to its comparatively new outsourcing model, “away centre fabrication” (ACF), in the current financial year. In the ACF model, introduced almost three years ago by Bhel, vendors have to purchase raw materials from company-approved suppliers, while in the conventional sourcing model, the company supplies vendors with raw materials and buys back finished products from them. Bhel started outsourcing material manufacturing with the conventional model in 1969.

PSUs should procure min 20% of requirement from SMEs: Minister
The Economic Times, 22 April 2011
Insisting that the Public Sector Units (PSUs) should procure at least 20 per cent of their requirements from the 2.6 crore small and medium units, the MSME Ministry has sought Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's intervention in the matter. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are demanding that the government should make it mandatory for all government departments, public sector units and state-funded infrastructure projects to purchase 20 per cent of their requirements from the sector. The government now procures a meager volume of 4 to 5 per cent from MSMEs, out of its annual Rs 1,70,000 crore purchase.

 Oriental Bank to increase lending to SMEs
The Economic Times, 20 April 2011
The Oriental Bank of Commerce will increase lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a view to boosting manufacturing growth in the country, the bank's chairman and managing director Mr Nagesh Pydah said. SMEs need special encouragement in view of their significant contributions to the economic growth, exports and job creation, Mr Pydah said at an event organized by the Council of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Large companies give small units a helping hand
Business Standard, 19 April 2011
Large corporate houses are helping micro and small enterprises to keep pace with the changing times, especially in the matter of introducing innovative measures to help them turn cost-efficient. Last month the logistics company DHL organized a “CEO mentoring clinic” in Chandigarh, which focussed on providing micro and small enterprises with insights on cost reduction and time management. Chandigarh has over 2500 units which are registered as small-scale units.

Crisil study places AP among top five Indian states in MSME growth
Financial Chronicle, 15 April 2011
A study by rating agency Crisil on the state-wise growth trends in revenues and profitability of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India has placed the Southern State Andhra Pradesh among the top five states. The Crisil study has also showed that 47 per cent of the Crisil-rated MSMEs in Andhra Pradesh have high ratings, which indicate their good performance and financial strength, the rating agency said in a statement on Friday.

Korean SMEs set to start retail operations in India
Business Standard, 10 April 2011
Many small and medium enterprises of Korea are set to have their products retailed in India. The Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) and GS Shop have signed a memorandum of understanding with Network18-promoted home shopping channel HomeShop18 to sell products in the country. Network18 already has a strategic partnership with Korea-based GS Shop for HomeShop18. Kotra and GS Shop would assist Korean companies planning a foray into the Indian market. These organisations would jointly consider products manufactured by Korean companies and some would be proposed to HomeShop18 to market these in India

Non-conventional finance needed: CII
Business Standard, 5 April 2011
In a study on the need for financial support for MSMEs, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has emphasised that conventional methods of financing need to be supplemented by non-conventional measures as well, pointing out that the government itself believes in the need for non-conventional ways of providing finance. The study describes efforts by other countries to bring MSMEs on a par with other organisations. In Singapore, for example, under a programme called Micro Loan, the authorities provide loans of up to S$50,000 per enterprise (in enterprises having 10 or fewer employees) to fund daily business operations.

Chemicals sector took off in 2010: Survey
Business Standard, 5 April 2011
The chemicals market picked up pace in 2010, according to a majority of SMEs (58.3 per cent) taking part in a survey of the chemicals sector conducted by IndiaMART Knowledge Services. About 30 per cent of survey respondents, however, did not find any change in 2010 over 2009. The majority of participants (51.7 per cent) foresee a growth in sales of over 20 per cent in 2011 and 45 per cent expect growth of up to 20 per cent. Many chemical units reported improved consumer sentiment in 2010. The improvement was ‘average’ for 65 per cent, ‘beyond expectations’ for 15 per cent and negative for 20 per cent of respondents.
The majority (53.3 per cent) reported a rise of up to 20 per cent in sales in 2010, while 26.7 per cent found an increase of more than 20 per cent. Only 20 per cent of respondents reported a decline in sales.

Karnataka to develop Rs 620 million SSI clusters
Deccan Herald, 25 February 2011
To encourage entrepreneurship and provide more employment opportunities, the Karnataka state government has proposed to reserve pockets of land in industrial estates for development of small scale industries. Presenting the budget proposals for the 2011-12, Chief Minister Mr B S Yeddyurappa said Rs 620 million would be provided for establishment of new industrial clusters.

Small businesses list big wishes for the budget
Business Standard, 22 February 2011
Reduction in taxation, increase in aid for innovation and assistance by way of facilitating credit availability are the dominant themes of the Budget wish-list that small and medium enterprises across sectors have for the finance minister. According to the SME Chamber, for companies oriented toward exports, the excise duty exemption limit should be increased to Rs 25 crore. This year, textile companies are demanding a reduction in the customs duty on machinery under the export promotion capital goods scheme

New initiatives for MSME sector soon: President Patil
The Economic Times, 21 February 2011
Based on the recommendations of a high-level panel, the government will soon unveil new initiatives to give a push to the country's small and medium sector employing over 6 crore people. President Ms Pratibha Patil said this in her address to Parliament marking the beginning of the Budget Session. The task force on the MSME sector headed by T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, had submitted its report containing several recommendations last month. The suggestions covered areas like easy and affordable credit, government procurement from MSMEs and simplification of labour laws. The task force also suggested setting up of an exchange for the SMEs.

Diversity index for MSMEs
The Financial Express, 18 February 2011
Enterprises in the developed countries have started to recognize the virtue of building multicultural work sites. However, in India , very little data is available on firm-level diversity, especially in MSMEs where the majority of Indians work. Studies have indicated that labour diversity in terms of ethnicity, skills and demographics significantly enhance productivity. It tends to stimulate innovation and creativity, increase marketing opportunities and boost business image. Indian MSMEs have to adopt such best practices and make their work sites more diverse and multicultural. Caste, creed, community and language factors often reflect in recruitment and human resource policies of employers, especially in small organizations. MSME clusters are often seen as an extension of caste and community enclaves.

Rs 2500 crore tech upgradation fund for MSMEs next Year
Business Standard, 11 February 2011
A Rs 2500 crore technology upgradation fund will be created next year to help the country's micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) acquire new technology. The technology upgradation fund of Rs 2500 crore will certainly be created next year when the 12th Five-Year Plan starts, according to Secretary, Ministry of MSMEs, Mr Uday Kumar Verma. Stating that bringing new technology was a costly proposition for the MSME sector, he said a solution has to be found on how new technology could be provided to this sector.

Assocham moots 17 new clusters on PPP model in West Bengal
The Hindu Business Line, 9 February 2011
The Associated Chamber of Commerce (Assocham) has suggested setting up of 17 inter-dependent clusters for small and medium enterprises on public–private partnership model to ensure inclusive growth in West Bengal. The association has pegged the cost of the clusters at Rs 400 crore. According to the report, many of the SMEs are using obsolete technology, thereby losing their competitiveness to large-scale enterprises. To avoid this, setting up of an inter–dependent model, where one cluster can buy goods from another, has been suggested. The model has been named e-Cluster model. A database consisting of necessary details including the products offered by other clusters should also be set up. The report also suggests that future clusters come up on PPP model where the Government acts as a facilitator in providing land while private players act as financers for the SMEs.

SMEs key to stimulating growth and creating jobs in US & India
The Economic Times, 8 February 2011
SMEs form the backbone of Indian and US economies. Their contribution to overall economic growth has been increasing rapidly. Creating a favourable business and policy environment remained crucial to strengthening economic recovery, stimulating growth and creating jobs in both countries, said Mr U K Varma, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, at an interaction organised with the US SME delegation, visiting India, along with the US Commerce Secretary, Mr Gary Locke .

One per cent interest hike reduces SME profits by 14%: Crisil
Business Standard, 1 February 2011
A Crisil study on the financial performance of over 3000 rated SMEs reveals that every percentage point increase in interest rates would lead to a decline of 14 per cent, on average, in the SMEs’ profits. The study covers 3234 SMEs, with sales turnover ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 500 crore. It includes manufacturing, trading and service companies in 30 industries across 20 states. The study found that half of the 2200 small companies (with debt equity ratios below one) are less vulnerable to interest rate hikes than their more leveraged peers, as are others with a high return on capital employed of over 15 per cent (52 per cent of the sample).

20,000 benefit from MSME development in North East
Business Standard, 25 January 2011
The Regional Resource Centre for Cluster Development of the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Guwahati (an organisation which is under the Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises) is implementing several MSME clusters in different trades in the north-east. The Regional Resource Centre was set up by the ministry of MSME in 2008 with the prime mandate of developing micro and small industry clusters in the north-eastern region. Since its inception, more than 20,000 people have been benefited under the cluster development programme.

Haryana to address SME concerns through new cluster-based policy
Business Standard, 18 January 2011
Realising the adverse impact of the slowdown on micro, small and medium enterprises, the Haryana government’s new Industrial and Investment Policy-2011 aims to give the state’s MSMEs a fresh lease of life through the adoption of a cluster-based approach. The state government estimates the number of MSMEs in Haryana at more than 80,000. Industrialists in the state complain that MSMEs are victims of neglect.

Govt clears 27 proposals to set up MSME clusters
Business Standard, 29 December 2010
The government has approved 27 proposals for setting up clusters with common infrastructure facilities for the micro and small units at a total cost of Rs 73 crore. The projects spread across the country would be developed under the public-private-partnership mode. Of the total project cost of Rs 73.40 crore, the government assistance would be Rs 51.75 crore and rest would be funded by private players. In a recent meeting, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises cleared four proposals for establishing common facility centres and 17 diagnostic study report centres. Besides six proposals for setting up of new industrial estates and upgrading the existing ones, under the Industrial Infrastructure Development Scheme, were approved.

Term loans to MSMEs to exceed Rs 148k cr in 11th Plan
Business Standard, 28 December 2010
Bank term loans to India’s MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) during the 11th Plan are expected to be Rs 148,720 crore if GDP growth during the plan period averages 9 per cent a year, according to an estimate by SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of Indiai). Average GDP growth of 8.5 per cent a year would mean a reduced term loan total of Rs 143,915 crore, and GDP growth of 8 per cent would entail a term loan total of Rs 139,808 crore, according to SIDBI. However, access to this money is not going to be easy, since MSMEs continue to face challenges that include stiff credit appraisal procedures, non-availability of collateral and margin requirements.

SMEs confident about business outlook in Oct-Dec quarter: CII
The Economic Times, 27 December 2010
SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) are optimistic about their business outlook in the October-December quarter on increased domestic demand coupled with improved prospects of credit availability, a CII survey has said. The Business Confidence Index of SMEs for the current quarter is estimated at 67 points on the scale of 0-100, an improvement of 1.4 points over the same period last year, CII said. Buoyancy in gross sales is backed by strong prospects of domestic demand than exports demand, the survey said.

Boost for small units: 20% quota for MSMEs in PSU procurement
Hindustan Times, 23 December 2010
The year 2011 could bring cheers to micro- and small- industries, as a much-awaited PPP (public procurement policy) is expected to be in place by the end of January. The ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises is set to send a note to the Cabinet for final approval. The new PPP makes it mandatory for all ministries and public sector undertakings to reserve 20% of their annual procurement from MSMEs. The proposed revised order is the result of an MSME task force constituted by the Prime Minister last year.

IDB lends $22m for Ecuador’s MSMEs
Microfinance Focus, 23 December 2010
IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) has closed a $22 million syndicated loan with Banco Pichincha in Ecuador to help fund lending for housing and to support MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). The IDB acted as lead arranger in the Banco Pichincha’s syndication, which comprised of $10 million from Global Bank in Panama, $5 million from Dexia Micro-Credit Fund, managed by BlueOrchard, $5 million from Banco Aliado in Panama and $2 million from Panama’s Multibank.

Haryana new industrial policy ready; to focus on PPP and SME promotion
The Financial Express, 22 December 2010
The draft of new Industrial Policy of Haryana is ready and the much awaited policy is likely to be announced very soon. The major thrust of the new Industrial Policy of Haryana would be on an all inclusive growth by setting up modern industrial estates in all the 21 districts of the state.

Eighth meeting of the National Board for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises held
Press Information Bureau, 22 December 2010
The 8th Meeting of the National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises was held at New Delhi on 22 December 2010 under the Chairmanship of Mr Dinsha Patel, Minister of State, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The meeting discussed various issues of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Sector with particular focus on “Micro and Small Enterprises-Cluster Development Programme: Achievements and Prospects”.

Banks to play bigger role in MSME sector
Business Standard, 19 December 2010
The role of banks to nurture the micro, small and medium enterprises sector by going beyond just providing finance was underscored at a meeting organized by the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Fapcci) as part of the nationwide India Corporate Week-2010 celebrations.

Cabinet okay's enhanced subsidy for MSMEs in J&K
The Economic Times, 15 December 2010
The government has decided to double subsidy for MSMEs in Jammu and Kashmir, at par with North Eastern states. The capital investment subsidy for the MSMEs in the state will be enhanced to 30 per cent of the investment on plant and machinery, according to an official release. Also, these units both in J&K and NER will now be eligible to claim subsidy each time they undertake expansion as long as the total investment on plant and machinery does not exceed the prescribed ceilings.

Innovative finance models for SMEs introduced
Indian Express, 15 November 2010
Ashoka Changemakers, a global community of social entrepreneurs, the G20 Seoul Summit and the Rockefeller Foundation on Friday introduced 14 innovative finance models dedicated to unleashing the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets. The 14 winning finance models, including one from India, were selected through independent judges from over 300 candidates in more than 30 countries in the world.

SME financing on Apec's agenda
The Star, 13 November 2010
Initiatives on small and medium enterprise financing will now be a part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) agenda, thus gaining the attention of the region's top leaders. The Apec Business Advisory Council has sought for more action to improve SME access to finance and technology.

First Eastern launches fund targeting UK SMEs
Reuters, 10 November 2010
First Eastern, the Hong Kong-based investment group, launched the first private equity fund dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom access China's fast-growing market. The launch of the $500 million UK China Fund on Wednesday coincides with the first visit to China by Prime Minister David Cameron, who aims to double trade with the country by 2015 as part of efforts to help revive the British economy amid austerity fiscal measures

Jharkhand to set up industrial enclaves in every district
The Economic Times, 10 November 2010
The Jharkhand government has decided to acquire at least 200 acres in each of the state's 24 districts to develop industrial enclaves across the state. Accordingly, the state will acquire a total of 4800 acres for industrial purpose in the coming months. The decision, which was taken a high level review meeting convened by chief minister Arjun Munda and attended by senior officials in the state industries department , is likely to give the much needed fillip to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).The Munda government will soon direct the all district administrations to expedite land acquisition. The state government move comes at a time when almost all land, falling under existing industrial areas at Tatisilwai, Kokar, Tupudana and Mesra, in and around the state capital, and also in other parts, stands exhausted.

Mohali units adopt a cluster-based approach
Business Standard, 9 November 2010
Looking to grow leaner, meaner and smarter with the changing times, industrial units located at Mohali (Chandigarh’s satellite town) are working on a cluster-based approach to enhance operational efficiency. Mohali has more than 1000 small-scale units engaged in the manufacture of railway components, electronic goods, auto parts, tractor parts, hospital equipment and furniture. Industrialists in Mohali believe the cluster development approach is a key strategy for enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of the MSME sector, facilitate skill development and product marketing, as well as secure the future of micro and small scale units.

Kerala to subsidise investments in energy conservation
The Hindu, 5 November 2010
The Kerala state government will subsidise investments in energy conservation in the industrial sector. Loans up to Rs 20 million will be released for the programme through the Kerala Financial Corporation at five per cent interest. The repayment period will be three years, said the state Minister for Finance. A review on the impact of distributing CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) among domestic users will be carried out and follow up action will be taken accordingly. Similarly, children will be brought to play a role in energy conservation by offering credits to domestic users on the basis of the units of power saved during a year. This credit points could be redeemed by children for buying books and other learning instruments

Saurashtra brick units to upgrade technology
Business Standard, 2 November 2010
Moving over from conventional methods, the brick manufacturers of Saurashtra and Kutch are preparing to tune into new technology. With the support of TERI and the Central government, brick producers of the region are planning technological upgradation at their units. So far, the industry has been using waste coal and dung cake as fuel, causing pollution due to the hand moulding method. Brick manufacturers in the region are now looking to introduce such 'resource efficient bricks' (REBs) as hollow blocks, perforated bricks and fly ash bricks, using mechanised and semi mechanised processes. REBs are products that consume less energy and resources than traditional fired clay bricks, and also have better quality and insulation properties.

Africa, South East Asia want to replicate cluster approach
Business Standard, 26 October 2010
The success stories of SME clusters in India have caught the fancy of small businesses and consultants in the countries of Africa, Middle East and South East Asia, who have evinced interest in learning about the cluster approach. These countries want to emulate the methods that Indian SMEs have adopted to conserve resources and cut input costs. Recently, executives of small businesses from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Congo, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan met their Indian counterparts in Chandigarh to understand how Indian SMEs enhance their competitiveness. A cluster is a group of companies that work together to improve their performance through mutual learning and sharing - for example, improving productivity and quality by reducing waste; introducing innovative practices to improve overall competitiveness by inducting good manufacturing practices; reducing customer complaints; optimally utilising resources such as space, manpower, material, equipment and energy; and empowering employees.

Government invites US SMEs to form JVs in India
Mint, 26 October 2010
The government has invited small and medium units from the US to set up operations in India by entering in joint ventures with the domestic firms. The government is taking necessary steps to create an enabling environment for small scale units, minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Mr Dinsha Patel said at a CII meet in New Delhi. He stressed on the need for increased economic and technical cooperation among SMEs to become competitive.

Foundries urged to focus on energy efficiency
The Hindu, 23 October 2010
Power availability and quality is one of the stumbling blocks for the growth of the foundry industry in the country, according to the Managing Director of Magna Electro Casting Mr N. Krishna Samaraj. Inaugurating a workshop on "Strategies to Promote Energy Efficiency in the Foundry Sector" organized by the Southern India Engineering Manufacturers' Association and TERI in Coimbatore, he said India had the fourth largest foundry industry globally. It was expected to move up to the third position by 2012. But, the stumbling block was non-availability of consistent quality of power. In Tamil Nadu, the problem was power shortage. At the national-level, it was distribution of power. Globally, there were issues such as global warming and carbon emissions. Dr Binu Parthan, Deputy Director General of REEEP International, said energy efficiency gains were mostly intangible.Resource efficiency was a key factor to achieve energy efficiency.

SMEs in Bangalore to be rated on emission levels
Business Standard, 19 October 2010
A study conducted by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has found that many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in and around Bangalore lack awareness about sustainable industrial ecology - a worrying finding, because the enormous growth of industry in the state is posing a serious challenge to the region's ecological balance. The KSPCB study found that 51 per cent of the state's highly polluting industries are concentrated in four districts - Bangalore Urban, Belgaum, Bellary and Mysore. These districts also account for a large concentration of SMEs, which are ill-equipped to meet increasingly stringent national and international regulations and as a result are losing their competitive edge. To help SMEs reduce pollution levels and improve working conditions as well as their quality management, TUV Rheinland, a provider of technical services and certification based in Cologne, Germany, had launched a pilot programme in association with KSPCB and DEG (Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft), a KFW banking group firm in Bangalore. Under the public private partnership project, known as 'Comprehensive Programme for Enhanced Productivity and Sustainable Industrial Ecology', 10 highly polluting SMEs in Bangalore were selected and put through a 14-month programme to create awareness and implement environmental as well as occupational health and safety standards.

Smaller units in Tiruchy to set up captive power plant
Business Standard, 12 October 2010
ASmall and medium enterprises operating in and around Tiruchirapalli (or Tiruchy) have decided to jointly set up a 3 MW power plant with the use of second-hand equipment sourced from Korea and China, according to industry representatives. These engineering units, numbering around 500, cater mainly to state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals' Tiruchy plant, which manufactures boilers. These units are in the process of upgrading their facilities to meet the requirements of BHEL, which plans to enlarge the scale of outsourced orders.

IDBI in pact with WRI for energy-saving initiatives
The Economic Times, 6 October 2010
IDBI Bank has tied up with US-based environmental research organization, WRI (World Resources Institute), for providing consultancy services to its borrowers on energy cost reduction. The tie is for MSME segment and IDBI Bank expects forging units, textile, steel sector and the hotel industry to benefit from the tie-up.

Bangalore to host India Manufacturing Show
Business Standard, 5 October 2010
Bangalore, the knowledge capital of India, is all set to play host to the manufacturing sector’s mega expo, India Manufacturing Show 2010 (IMS 2010), billed as the single largest collaborative platform for Indian and international manufacturing units. To be held from October 9 to 12, IMS 2010 will feature participation by engineering and other ancillaries from the MSME sector, and large private and public sector units

India, US urged to form CEOs' forum for small and medium units
The Hindu Business Line, 1 October 2010
The MSMEs in India should create a focus group under US-India Trade Policy Forum for SMEs, said Mr Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, Ministry of MSME at the Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sector conference, held in Pune recently. Stressing on building synergies between the two countries for sourcing products and building value chains to enter global markets, he suggested that they should create a chief executive officer forum for SMEs with 20 representatives from US and India each.

India's first foundry cluster set to open
Business Standard, 28 September 2010
Set up in Belgaum, the BFC (Belgaum Foundry Cluster) will serve more than 150 SMEs supplying castings to automobile, textile and general engineering companies. The BFC, India’s first dedicated cluster for foundries and allied engineering industries, will go operational with a range of common facilities like a sand reclamation plant – the first of its kind in north Karnataka – by the end of October. The BFC has been set up at a cost of Rs 25 crore, 75 per cent of which has been provided by the Central government, 15 per cent by the Karnataka government, and 10 per cent by Belgaum’s foundries.

Scheme to raise energy efficiency underway
Business Standard, 28 September 2010
The World Bank in conjunction with the SIDBI and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency is implementing an initiative on financing energy efficiency in MSME industrial clusters to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from MSMEs, utilizing increased commercial financing. The initiative envisions supporting five clusters - Kolhapur, Pune, Tirunelveli, Ankleswhar and Faridabad - through provision of assistance for completion of energy audits, preparation of detailed project reports and support in mobilization of finance from Indian commercial banks to ensure that the identified energy efficiency measures are implemented. The goal of the project is to support the development of detailed project reports for 500 projects in the selected clusters and help improve market acceptance (both by MSMEs and domestic banks) for this type of product.

Pollution norms, lack of tax sops hit tanneries
Business Standard, 21 September 2010
A sizeable number of small and medium units in the leather industry in Tamil Nadu have closed shop. Regulatory issues such as environmental standards and a lack of tax incentives has hit the tanning industry in the major districts of Dindigual and Tiruchy and other tanning hubs in Tamil Nadu. According to industry sources, the number of units in Dindigual has come down by 80 per cent, while in Tiruchy it has fallen by 85 per cent. Likewise, Ambur, Vaniambadi and other clusters have also reported closure of tanneries. Until three or four years back, Tamil Nadu accounted for 78 per cent of the pan-India tanning industry, which is estimated to be around Rs 8,000-9,000 crore in size. This has now come down to 55 per cent, said Rafeeque Ahmed, president of the All India Skins & Hide Tanners Merchant Association, a 93-year-old association that represents tanners.

Orissa soon to launch VC fund for MSME on PPP model
The Economic Tines, 20 September 2010
In a bid to boost the start up micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Orissa government is mulling over an idea to launch MSME Venture Capital Fund in the public private partnership mode later this year. In 2009, the state government came out with a comprehensive Orissa MSME Development Policy for broad basing the growth of MSMEs in all potential sectors of economy thus widening opportunities for employment generation, revenue augmentation, exports. The policy emphasizes sustainable, inclusive industrial growth and balanced regional development. Though the state is quite rich in natural and human resources, the MSMEs suffer from typical weaknesses and have specific needs and requirements. The new Policy was put in place to enable the MSMEs to face the emerging challenges gain competitiveness in globalized and competitive market.

Global platform for MSMEs
The Financial Express, 17 September 2010
Mohamud Ibrahim, a trader in Iran aiming to source aromatic basmati rice from India, does not browse through search engines on the Internet to find reliable suppliers of quality rice, instead he goes straight to Alibaba.com, one of the biggest B2B e-commerce sites. Mr Ibrahim is one amongst the more than 13 million registered members of Alibaba.com, who are hooked onto Net to find genuine buyers and suppliers globally. According to David Wei, chief executive officer of Alibaba.com, more than 1.45 million small businesses in India use Alibaba.com’s services to reach out to its 13.6 million registered buyers and suppliers on its Web-based international marketplace.

Tripartite deal signed promoting energy efficiency in MSME
Franchise India, 17 September 2010
With an aim to promote and finance energy efficiency projects and programs in the micro, small and medium units, the Ministry of Finance, World Bank and Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) has signed a tripartite agreement. The project is proposed to be implemented through Global Environment Facility (GEF) Grant of US $ 11.3 million, said an official statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

SAP hunts for partner to tap SMEs
Business Standard, 10 September 2010
SAP sees the Indian small & medium enterprises (SME) sector as a huge market for its new version of software applications. The software application provider is adopting a partnership model to tap into the higher volumes of the market in tier-II and -III cities. For SAP, mid-market accounts 70% of its customers globally.

GST to enhance SMEs' efficiency
Business Standard, 7 September 2010
The input credit mechanism under goods and services tax will help price products more competitively. The proposed goods and service tax (GST), which has seen the main political parties adopt opposing views, spells a mixture of good news and some restrictions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), industry experts said. Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of TVS Motor Company, a leading two-wheeler manufacturer, believes that GST will enhance the competitiveness and efficiency of the manufacturing sector (which houses a substantial number of SMEs) and mitigate the cascading effect of the current tax system.

ICICI Bank expects SME advances business to grow by 25pc
The Hindu, 30 September 2008
Country's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank said it expects that advances to small and medium enterprises segment will grow moderately at around 25 per cent this year owing to general negative sentiment. The growth in advances would come at a high base, Bank General Manager Mr Sanjeev Mantri said, adding that the SME portfolio constitute 10-15 per cent of the balance sheet. According to a report by Goldman Sachs, SMEs are likely sources of new non-performing loans.

Government wants 10 per cent of banks' priority sector credit to SMEs
The Economic Times, 30 September 2008
The Government has plans to increase the credit flow to micro-enterprises in the country by making 10 per cent of the total priority sector lending of banks mandatory to such firms. The Government and the Reserve Bank are discussing the matter on a constant basis and is likely to come out with a decision in the near future, Secretary to the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr Dinesh Rai, said. Presently, nearly 42 million small and medium sized companies are operating in the country, contributing nearly 40 per cent to the total exports and 45 per cent of the manufacturing output in India, Mr Rai said. In a bid to enhance the credit flow to the SME sec tor, the Government had recently launched Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme that would generate nearly 37 lakh new jobs in the country in the SME sector.

'Realization of SME potential a must for growth'
Business Standard, 22 September 2008
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has been actively involved in developing small and medium enterprises in India. The agency plans to support selected clusters under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion. In an interview with the newspaper, Mr Philippe R Scholtes, UNIDO representative and head of South Asia region, talks about UNIDO’s objectives for SMEs and the importance of SME development for India.

Government to launch Rs 10-billion manufacturing scheme
Business Standard, 15 September 2008
The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has embarked on an ambitious Rs 10 billion plan — the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme. The programme will be implemented in phases during the 11th and 12th 5-year Plans. Over 10 segments will be targeted in the public-private-partnership mode. For the implementation of each segment, 80 per cent of the cost will be borne by the government and the remaining will come from private parties. The programme is expected to boost the MSMEs across the country in primary manufacturing, retail and the service sector. The 10 segments identified by the MSME ministry are - market support for Bar Code mechanism, support for entrepreneurial and managerial incubators, manufacturing quality tools, campaign for investment of intellectual property rights, lean manufacturing programme under cluster development initiative, mini tool room programme, promotion of ICT, energy efficiency and quality certification, design clinic scheme and marketing assistance to small units with technology enhancement plans.

Agra pumpset units want excise to go
Business Standard, 15 September 2008
The unorganized sector is unable to compete on account of the 8% duty; the price difference between branded and unbranded pumps declines and sales drop. Agra’s unorganized mechanical pump manufacturing sector is paying 8 per cent excise duty on every pumpset it manufactures. The duty, in force since 1 January 2007, has affected the margins of small units, which are finding it difficult to compete with players in the organized sector. Players in the organized sector are exempt from the tax till a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore.

Orissa to restructure small industries arm
Business Standard, 8 September 2008
The Orissa government is planning to restructure the Orissa Small Industries Corporation (OSIC), a government-owned corporation charged with the responsibility of promoting small-scale industries (SSIs) in the state. The directorate of industries has already sent a proposal for restructuring of the OSIC to the state government. The restructuring process includes business restructuring, financial restructuring and manpower restructuring. Under the business-restructuring plan, the OSIC is intended to move from non-profitable and fund-based activities where there is a huge requirement of working capital to non-fund based commercially viable activities.

India Konnects to target SMEs in Gujarat
Business Standard, 26 August 2008
Targeting SMEs in Gujarat, India Konnects, an online networking portal, is in talks with several chambers of commerce in the state. The site claims to offer segmented business networking opportunities on its portal and is targeting several industries like diamond, textile, and others in Gujarat. With an aim to provide more such specialised services and build on its user base, the company will invest around $ 2 million (Rs 8 crore approx.) for its expansion plans in the country. India Konnects is a 50:50 joint venture between the US-based of 50 BHP.

Global IT firms adopt FMCG strategy to tap SMEs
Business Standard, 25 August 2008
Global IT firms are taking a cue from consumer firms, which revolutionised marketing tactics in the FMCG segment with the shampoo-in-a-sachet concept by appealing to semi-urban as well as rural consumers. IT firms, in the same vein, are looking to cater to small-and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India, most of which are located in semi-urban areas and can’t afford expensive software. They are packaging their software products in such a manner that they are affordable, easy to deploy and require minimal IT expertise to manage - all of which reduce the total cost of ownership. These companies are also hiring marketing heads from FMCG firms to make up for their lack of understanding of the Indian semi-urban and rural markets.

PSU banks keen to step up SME sector lending
The Hindu Business Line, 22 August 2008
Faced with falling margins due to rising interest rates, banks are focusing on the small and medium enterprises sector. Although lending to SMEs is slightly more risky compared with big corporates, with defaults ranging from 1-3 per cent, the higher returns make up for the defaults, said bankers. An SME client is usually charged interest rates slightly higher than the benchmark prime-lending rate of banks. Besides earning a higher yield, banks also benefit from a host of ancillary businesses from an SME client, according to Mr T.M. Bhasin, Executive Director, United Bank of India.

ICICI plans $200-mn PE fund for SMEs
Business Standard, 19 August 2008
ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private bank, is planning to set up a private equity fund with a likely corpus of $200 million (Rs 872 crore) for small and medium enterprises, Mr Sanjiv Sherawat, general manger, business banking division, said. The fund would be created in five to six months, he said on the sidelines of a seminar on SMEs organised by Confederation of Indian Industry. The bank’s private equity business comes under subsidiary ICICI Venture, which manages $2 billion (Rs 8718 crore).

Experimental project to conserve energy in Gujarat
Business Standard, 18 August 2008
GEDA (Gujarat Energy Development Authority) and the Ahmedabad-based Vatva Industries’ Association, which has around 1000 members, have joined hands for ensuring energy conservation in the SMEs. Both the agencies have agreed to adopt 10 SMEs on turnkey basis for a year. Subsequently, the energy conservation model will be replicated in other associations. GEDA would act as a facilitator in the project. Mr R N Pandya, senior project executive, GEDA, said: ‘According to the understanding, Vatva Industries’ Association will create a new model. It will identify 10 units and will conduct energy saving experiments. GEDA will extend financial aid for the project. SMEs account for 40%of the industrial production and manufacture more than 8000 value-added products.

Kerala SME does its bit for green tourism
Business Standard, 4 August 2008
Sustainable tourism in Kerala is catching on, with a Kochi-based company testing the waters with an idea that sails on innovation. TeamSustain, a provider of engineering services and equipment in the renewable energy space, has designed a solar-powered boat. The idea is an ideal solution to the state’s needs. The boat causes no pollution and bypasses the issue of rising oil prices. The first solar boat, christened Surya, has been rolled out from the TeamSustain stables at a cost of Rs 25 lakh.

SMEs optimistic about economic outlook
The Economic Times, 31 July 2008
Small and medium enterprises in the country are optimistic about the economic outlook for the next two quarters, a survey by HSBC Commercial Banking revealed. The HSBC survey conducted in the month of May in the Asia Pacific region among 3,000 SMEs which included 300 respondents from India, expect economic growth at either the same level or better than last year. The survey found that 59 per cent of India's SMEs are optimistic about the economic outlook. The respondents from India were found to be the most optimistic in the region followed by China and Taiwan. According to the survey, 56 per cent of India's small businesses intend to make capital investment in the rest of 2008. This figure is nearly the same as six months ago when a similar survey had found 60 per cent of the respondents saying they intended to make capital investment.

CII-IQ plans quality certifications for 100 SME clusters
The Hindu Business Line, 30 July 2008
The CII-IQ (Confederation of Indian Industry’s Institute of Quality) is planning to examine 100 clusters of SME (small and medium enterprises) under its quality certification programme this year. The identification of clusters consisting 15-20 SMEs in all sectors except services is currently on. The institute would certify the products of SMEs under total quality management (TQM) certification

Focus on small units for hill development: CII
Business Standard, 28 July 2008
CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) has called for focusing on the development of SMEs in order to boost the economy of the hilly region in Uttarakhand. Its new report “Development Strategy for Hill Districts of Uttarakhand,” CII said that under the new Integrated Industrial Development Policy 2008, which was launched early this year, agro-based small scale industries and cottage industries should be promoted for the development of hill states. The CII report said industrial activity in the hilly region can be tapped from local agro-based industry. Herbs, fruits, frozen tulsi, fruit juices, jams are products around which SMEs can be set up. Handicrafts, shawls, woollen and hosiery are other products which have the potential to boost SMEs in the region

Punjab SMEs to have greater say in policy
Business Standard, 28 July 2008
The setting up of separate Industrial Development Boards is likely to give a fresh lease of life to the SMEs and SSIs in Punjab. The move is a step towards incorporating industry leaders in the decision-making process of the government. Analysts say the boards will bridge the gap between the intentions of the policy makers and the aspirations of the target group. They add the boards would also help leading industrial players clinch deals with their counterparts in other states. Currently, the SME and SSI sector makes up 99 per cent of the industrial units of the state. The state has 206,833 working units.

HSBC product for small businesses
The Hindu Business Line, 9 July 2008
HSBC India has launched an online product for SMEs, which offers facilities such as zero balance requirements, free online transactions, free cash withdrawal up to Rs 2 lakh at 23,000 Visa ATMs and multiple debit cards. The bank hopes to overcome the constraints of a limited branch network and attract more SME clients through the product called HSBC Direct, said Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, CEO and Country Head, HSBC India.

Cisco financing facility for SMBs
The Hindu Business Line, 5 July 2008
Cisco, networking technology and products company, has announced a zero per cent financing facility for SMBs (small and medium businesses) for its multi-layer services programme, that will seek to tackle the challenges of the sector through cost control and investment in technologies and infrastructure. The scheme will be extended to China, Korea and Hong Kong and other APAC countries. It will initially be in force till 2009 and cover Cisco’s lifecycle approach of planning, designing and implementation for the SMBs. Cisco offers the products at a concessional interest rate of seven per cent to the SMBs.

Cluster-based approach for MSME crafts in Uttar Pradesh
Business Standard, 30 June 2008
The Uttar Pradesh government has come up with a proposal to follow the cluster-based approach for selected crafts in the state. The move is expected to benefit the micro and small enterprises in the state. "We submitted a list of 145 clusters to the Centre for clearance, of these 55 have been approved. We have selected 4 clusters in Lucknow— steel, terracotta, chikan and plastic," Avaneesh K Chaturvedi, general manager, District Industries Centre, Lucknow said. The nodal agency for the execution for steel, chikan and terracotta will be the District Industries Centre (DIC). For the plastic cluster; the Central Institute for Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) will be the implementing agency.

CTTC Bhubaneswar ties up with UNIDO
Business Standard, 30 June 2008
The Central Tool Room and Training Centre (CTTC), Bhubaneswar, has tied up with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Institute under the MSME ministry for cluster development initiatives (CDI) like diagnostic study, trust building and action plan implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and College of Engineering and Technology (CET) will help CTTC financially for conducting skill and technology enhancement programmes in different parts of the state for MSME clusters. This is to develop a consensus-based vision for the future and strengthen linkages between clusters and other MSMEs, large enterprise, support institutions, local governments, banks and business schools.

MCC offers help to SMEs
The Financial Express, 25 June 2008
Merchants' Chamber of Commerce, in a bid to increase focus on small & medium enterprises; industrial, education and tourism sectors, will hold seminars with the help of the West Bengal government. Experts from the fields concerned will take part in the seminars, which will focus on the development of these sectors in the state, said Anupam Shah, chamber president. In case of SMEs, adequate bank credit at competitive costs, hassle-free conversion of land and realistic labour laws are some of the issues to be taken up in the seminar. The state has a huge potential for growth in the tourism sector but as most of the tourists are attracted towards Goa and Kerala, the chamber would meet representatives of the tourism sector to work out measures to increase footfalls in the state

SMEs to get Rs 55-crore IPR facilitator
The Economic Times, 17 June 2008
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which have taken big strides in developing new products, can look forward to central assistance in securing intellectual property rights. The prospect of getting assistance is looking up with the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ministry offering a Rs 55-crore IPR-facilitation package for implementation over the next four years. For 2008-09, Rs 8 crore have been set aside out of the total allocation. Formed as part of the sector specific National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP), the package has been drawn up to facilitate adoption and implementation of IPR for new products developed by players in the sector. Plans are afoot to launch a nation-wide campaign in coming months to make SMEs aware and sensitise them about central assistance for securing IPRs on industrial design, geographical indication, patents, copyrights and trademark.

SBI to float private equity fund for SMEs
The Hindu Business Line, 14 June 2008
State Bank of India will float a private equity fund roping in local investors especially for lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The fund is likely to be operational before the end of this calendar year, according to Mr Om Prakash Bhatt, Chairman, State Bank of India (SBI)

MSMEs look at non-traditional source of fund
Business Standard, 19 April 2008
The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector in the country will be increasingly looking at non-traditional sources for financing needs, a business outlook survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) revealed. A CII release said that, 10 per cent of the respondents are preferring capital markets, 12 per cent used credit guarantee schemes while 8 per cent are turning to venture capital as an alternate source of finance. About 52 per cent respondents saw the credit guarantee fund launched by SIDBI for guaranteeing loans up to Rs 50 lakh as a substitute for collateral security.

Foundry cluster to benefit small engineering units
The Hindu Business Line 4 April 2008
With the formal dedication of the ‘pump and foundry industries’ cluster project established by Coimbatore Industrial Infrastructure Association (Coindia) at a cost of about Rs 60 crore, the small and medium engineering industries are expected to overcome the constraints faced by them in accessing contemporary technology because of their size. The project is expected to see new investment of Rs 200-300 crore in the next few years, in capacity addition, as the SMEs in the motor pump and foundry industries seek to expand their product range to meet the needs of different applications.

Orissa plans special body for small firms
Business Standard 20 December 2007
With a view to identify the sick micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for revival and pick up viable projects for setting up of new units, the Orissa government plans to constitute a “MSME Development Consortium” soon. The proposed consortium will have the director, Industries, director, Institutional Finance, State Bank of India, UCO Bank (convener of SLBC) and the director, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute, Cuttack as members. The consortium is proposed to be in the form of a society with appropriate and agreed upon share holding by each stake holder.

IT majors bank on SME biz
Business Standard, 19 December 2007
Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are expected to emerge as major buyers of the information technology (IT) products by 2008. Most SMEs do not have IT departments and often are not located in metropolitan cities. According to Mr Joydeep Datta Gupta, executive director of Deloitte & Touche Consulting, any IT-led SME business transformation project could succeed only if the project was sustained. According to Mr Prathick Sarkar, regional sales manager of SAP India, “For midsize companies, leadership depends on the ability to adapt to changes in the market, build lasting relationships with customers and get to market quickly.” However, meeting these business objectives could be daunting when business systems were not fully integrated and lacked functionality.

Sebi to set up bourse for SMEs
The Times of India, 17 December 2007
Sebi chairman Mr M Damodaran has said the stock market regulator would very soon identify a party to set up a dedicated bourse for the SME (small and medium enterprises sector. The move to establish a separate bourse for the SME sector, according to experts, has gathered momentum considering the difficulties small and medium enterprises face competing in the existing stock exchanges, which are dominated by big players.

SIDBI to focus on direct equity support to SMEs of north
The Economic Times, 17 December 2007
SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) has earmarked Rs 11 crore to provide direct equity support to SMEs of north India including Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh to help them carry out their expansion plans. Under the scheme, SIDBI would acquire equity stake in the SME, to whom it would provide funds. SIDBI has projected to provide equity support of Rs 3 crore each to small scale unit of Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana and Rs 2 crore for Delhi during the current fiscal.

Feeling the green pinch
Business Standard, 13 December 2007
The need for Indian MSME (micro, small, medium enterprises) sector to become compliant with environmental standards is beginning to pinch the industry. A recent World Bank report said that India's 4.5 million MSMEs contribute 40 per cent of industrial production but create 70 per cent of industrial pollution. The report stated that most of the initiatives towards attaining environmental compliance within Indian industry do not cover MSMEs. The CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) has joined hands with the ministry of environment and the Central Pollution Control Board to promote higher environmental standards amongst the MSME sector. It has also entered into an agreement with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) to take up a consolidated project for MSME development in India. The CII-UNIDO Development Project will promote direct foreign investment and industrial co-operation agreements, fostering investment and partnership of selected target market countries towards the MSMEs. The project will also facilitate and promote investment, development through cluster approach, equity financing, technology and subcontracting partnerships between MSMEs and international potential partners. The project will further upgrade and strengthen the existing capabilities and capacities of Indian MSMEs through cluster twinning strategy.

Companies to get back patent fees
Business Standard, 13 December 2007
In an move to promote innovation among emerging companies, the Department of Information Technology has launched its programme entitled, “Support International Patent Protection in Electronics & IT”. Under the scheme, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and technology start-ups can apply for reimbursement, up to a limit of Rs 15 lakh, for the costs incurred in filing international patent applications. This scheme applies for their indigenous inventions in the electronics and ICT (information, communication and technology) domain. The grant will be disbursed to applicants on a reimbursement basis and will be limited to 50 per cent of the total expenses in actual cost incurred by the applicant on filing international patent. The scheme, which was introduced on 4 November, will be valid for a period of five years. Beyond the allotted time-frame, the scheme will be reviewed for extension

CII, FICCI demand bailout package for small firms
Business Standard, 13 December 2007
Industry chambers like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) are demanding a slew of fiscal incentives to bail out small and medium enterprises (SMEs), from the havoc of rising rupee. The chambers are unanimous on the issue of reducing interest rates as it will go a long way in lowering the operating costs of SMEs and exporters. To improve Information Technology (IT) consumption in SMEs, CII feels that a central research and development fund for the use of SMEs should be created in which private companies can voluntarily contribute and get 200 per cent weighted tax deduction on contribution.

RBI sets up working group to rehabilitate sick MSMEs
The Economic Times, 13 December 2007
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a working group for improving the financial health of small and medium enterprises, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Mr Mahabir Prasad said. Mr Prasad said Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) should be given the status of a commercial bank to address the problem of credit faced by small enterprises. The Minister said SIDBI should open more branches to meet the rising credit requirements of the micro, small and medium enterprises. Currently, it has 65 branches across the country and plans to add five more within the next three months.

AIMA to train small firms from early 2008
Business Standard, 29 November 2007
In an initiative to train SMEs (small and medium enterprises) cope better with challenges faced by them, the AIMA (All India Management Association) is in the process of preparing modules for training SMEs across the country. The training is most likely to begin by early next year. Countrywide, various organizations are running programmes with similar objective. These include industry associations like the Confederation of Indian Industry, private banks like ICICI Bank Ltd and HSBC and top management institutes like the Indian Institute of Management. AIMA had been doing workshops for SMEs in the past, but it now plans to institutionalize this initiative through these modules

UNIDO plans to boost productivity
Business Standard, 22 November 2007
In order to boost productivity in leather, footwear and automotive components related SMEs and to promote tie ups between Indian and Italian companies in the same space, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation has drawn up a three-year programme for establishment of mutual credit guarantee schemes, cluster twining and foreign investment and technology promotion across many cities in the country. The Italian government has allotted Euro 3 million for the project titled Consolidated Project for SME Development in India, which will be implemented by Unido

SIDBI to help Ludhiana's steel forging units adopt cleaner technologies
The Hindu Business Line, 20 November 2007
SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) has signed an agreement with a SPV floated by SME units in Ludhiana's steel forging sector to provide financial assistance so that they can embrace more environment-friendly technologies. The World Bank has given its backing to this initiative by agreeing to purchase 9.90 lakh certified emission reduction units from the SPV. The bank is also helping the SPV in development and implementation of the CDM (clean development mechanism) project. Around 300 SMEs are expected to benefit from the project. According to a press release, SIDBI signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Ludhiana Hand Tools and Forging Envirocare Pvt Ltd, which is the SPV (special purpose vehicle) floated by SME units in Ludhiana's steel forging cluster. As per the MoU, SIDBI will collaborate with the SPV to provide financial assistance to SMEs participating in the CDM project being implemented at the steel-forging cluster in Punjab.

New India-US trade initiative to boost SMEs’ enterprising skill
Indian Express, 17 November 2007
The USIBC (US-India Business Council) launched a comprehensive initiative to deepen two-way trade and investment between the United States and India. The USIBC initiative will focus on the principal trade and investment barriers of commercial significance to USIBC member companies and will build towards substantial market opening arrangements designed to bring broadly inclusive growth to both countries.

Banks bet big on SMEs
Business Standard, 15 November 2007
Even as MSME (micro, small, medium enterprise) associations, like National Small Industries Corporation or Laghu Udyog Bharti, believe that credit flow to SMEs is a bottleneck in the development of this sector, most private banks claim that their MSME oriented initiatives are doing fairly well. These banks also believe that their services for MSMEs go much beyond than just lending money. ICICI bank, in an effort to help SMEs (small and medium enterprises) start, finance and grow their business, has started an on-line resource centre by the name of “India SME toolkit”. The website, www.india.smetoolkit.org, contains updated information and tools to enable SMEs in emerging markets learn how to increase productivity, efficiency and capacity, as well as improve their access to capital and new markets.

Punjab foundries move to Chhattisgarh
Business Standard, 15 November 2007
Amarjit Singh of Mithila Malleables Private Limited, had a flourishing steel business near Steel City at North Mandigobindgarh for over three decades, but the changing business scenario in the past five years persuaded him to relocate his business and he zeroed in on Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh. Amarjit Singh is not an isolated case, but there are a few who relocated and expanded their operations in other states of India either closer to the source of raw material (Chhattisgarh) or in tax holiday state (Himachal Pradesh). Squeezing profits due to high power tariffs coupled with the withdrawal of freight subsidy hit the cluster of steel re-rolling, induction furnaces and forging units a few years back. But the tax concessions offered in the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand by the Government of India in 2003 was the last straw on the camel’s back. Many small units shifted to Himachal Pradesh, but others, with an eye on future expansion, relocated and expanded in Raipur.

Mother of all SME fairs in February
Business Standard, 15 November 2007
To enhance the competitiveness of the SMEs (small and medium entrepreneurs), the IIA (Indian Industries Association) — an apex body of micro, small and medium industries — is gearing up to organize the biggest industrial trade fair of Uttar Pradesh, in Lucknow. The fair, organized by IIA, along with the Department of Food Processing and Industrial Development, Government of Uttar Pradesh, is scheduled from 1st to 4th February next year. The main objective of the event is to exhibit whatever agro-products are made in the state and outside, along with emphasis on displaying the technologies, machinery, products and services produced within and outside the country.

Orissa to set up stock exchange for SMEs
Business Standard, 15 November 2007
The small entrepreneurs in Orissa are quite upbeat on the idea of Bhubaneswar Stock Exchange floating a SMX (Small and Medium Enterprise Exchange) in the state. Companies with a paid-up capital of less than Rs 3 crore will be able to raise money at the exchange. The fund-starved SMEs can avail the opportunity to raise funds for expansion and diversification. Besides, the small investors who were investing in large companies and banks will have the option of investing in the equity shares of these small units

SMEs grab power pie
Business Standard, 8 November 2007
The big boys in the business of power-generation and distribution may soon lose their monopoly as small and medium entrepreneurs are keen to foray into this stream. This was disclosed at a conference, Indian Power Sector: 11th Plan and Beyond, organized by CII (Northern Region) in Chandigarh recently. The entrepreneurs urged the Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr Anil Razdan to provide the details of the equipment they need from the SMEs for the execution of big projects. The secretary endorsed the fact that the SMEs can play a vital role in the expansion of the power sector by providing the equipment at a competitive price.

Italy to fund SME project in India
The Statesman, 5 November 2007
In a move that will benefit leather clusters in Shantiniketan, Agra and Chennai, as well as, auto clusters in the NCR (National Capital Region), Pune and Tamil Nadu, Italy will fund to the tune of over three million euros a project for the development of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in India. The three-year project, titled ‘a consolidated project for SMEs development in India’ with the ministry of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), government of India as the Indian counterpart agency, and the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) as the implementation agency, aims at supporting the development of Indian MSMEs to enable them to become globally competitive. For this purpose, leather and auto components have been identified under the manufacturing sector. The leather clusters that will receive support under the projects are, Shantiniketan for leather goods; Chennai for tanning and footwear; and Agra for footwear. In the auto component sector, while the auto component cluster of Chennai will receive support, interventions will be made to foster foreign direct investment and business promotion in Pune and the NCR auto parts clusters

IBM India launches SMB operations in Surat
The Hindu, 23 October 2007
As part of its ongoing expansion strategy to tier II cities in the country, IBM India has announced the launch of its SMB (small and medium business) operations in Surat. This expansion would enable IBM to provide better support to SME (small and medium enterprises) clients in and around Surat and help IBM's customers leverage IT for business growth, the company said in a statement. IBM's SME offerings have been "accepted" in various industries in Surat including diamonds and gems, cooperative banks, textiles and chemicals, IBM said.

NSIC to launch 250 incubators in five years
Business Standard, 18 October 2007
With the object of developing new small enterprises, NSIC (National Small Industries Corporation), has initiated a programme whereby it is setting up incubators for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own ventures. An incubator works by way of providing support-services like practical training on new machines or projects, preparing reports, seeking government approvals, identification and procurement of plant and machinery, helping to access credit facilities, and providing market support among others. The work on one incubator in Guwahati and another in Kolkata is in progress. NSIC plans to set up 250 such incubators across the country by 2012 at the cost of Rs 70 lakh per incubator.

Banks eye small sector M&A
Business Standard, 18 October 2007
As marquee investment banks Morgan Stanley, UBS, Rothschild, Goldman Sachs and others chase big-ticket deals in India, a clutch of boutique investment banks are looking to tap the opportunity in the lucrative small and mid-sized market as SMEs (small and medium enterprises) look to ramp up fast through mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and private equity funding. Delhi-based Almondz Global Securities has tied up with Noble, a London-based investment bank to set up an FII (foreign institutional investor) desk, and to help Indian companies raise money abroad through primary equity offerings like American Depository Receipts, Global Depository Receipts and London listing (including the Alternative Investment Market and main London Stock Exchange). UK-based investment bank, Collins Stewart, has a tie-up with India’s Inga Advisors to tap the small to mid segment of the market. Another UK-based investment bank, Collins Stewart, has a tie-up with India’s Inga Advisors to tap the small to mid segment of the market.

MNCs target SMEs to fuel growth
Mint, 17 October 2007
Multinational IT firms that were once content to follow the 80:20 rule—this meant 80% of their revenue came from 20% of their customers—are now singing a different tune. All of them are now focused on SMEs, as they believe selling to these firms present better opportunities than selling to larger ones. In the past few months, the Indian arms of global IT heavyweights such as International Business Machines Corp., SAP AG, and Oracle Corp. have unveiled strategies to tap SMEs or the SMB (small and medium business) segment. As India’s economy continues to expand at more than 9%, SMBs are being created across the country in a variety of sectors including cooperative banking, auto ancillaries, health care, mining and textiles. Many of these firms spend on IT because they see it as something that can help them become more efficient and profitable. According to research firm ACNielsen, IT spend by small and medium enterprises will reach Rs26,709 crore by 2008. The firm adds that there are over nine million such enterprises in India, with an average IT spend of Rs30 lakh a year.

IBM package for SMEs
The Asian Age, 12 October 2007
IBM India has launched a software and service package named Express Advantage for the SMEs. It will be made available to SMEs in six major cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. The Express Advantage package includes products from IBM’s software systems and service groups. It addresses several issues affecting SMEs including business, security and energy efficiency.

SMEs to invest $50 billion in telecom
Business Standard, 11 October 2007
Australia, S Korea, India and China will account for 70% of telecom spend. Small and medium enterprises across the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan (APeJ) are on track to invest $50 billion on telecommunications equipment and services this year. This is up some 5 per cent over 2006, according to the latest study by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. The Indian SMEs have spent over $5 billion on telecom equipment and services last year. Further growth is expected from the cellular market which is set to grow at over 13 per cent.

SME tech platform goes biennial
Business Standard, 1 October 2007
Following the success of the recently concluded three-day trade and technology show (TTBS) at Kochi, the Kerala government plans to organize the show every two years to boost the small and medium industries sector. The show saw Thailand Dhonpuri University offering a unique business incubation service for SME units and technology transfer for upgradation of SMEs in Kerala to international standards. Also, the Katestart University of Thailand has offered technology for R&D of virgin coconut

Agra firm develops non-polluting generator
Business Standard, 20 September 2007
Following a ban on diesel engine manufacture in Agra by the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), the diesel engine and generator manufacturing industry has come to a virtual standstill. Though most of the diesel engine manufacturers have either downed their shutters or have begun selling unassembled engines and generators, a few of the major engine manufacturers of the town have taken a step further, developing new technologies and making their engines compliant to the CPCB standards. BS Agricultural Industries has recently announced the development of a completely new engine technology, which, besides being compliant with CPCB standards, also heavily economizes on fuel consumption.

Channel partners cash in as SMEs go tech-savvy
Business Standard, 20 September 2007
The economic boom, coupled with high IT awareness among SMEs (small and medium enterprises), is boosting the fortunes of resellers or channel partners in India, with more than 90 per cent of them reporting a rise in their annual revenues over the last 12 months, according to the latest report by New York-based Access Markets International Partners. The average revenue of channel partners focusing on IT needs of SMEs in India was $324,000 in the 2005-06 financial year. It has risen to $399,400 in the last 12 months. Channel partners in India have aligned their business models to suit the current requirement of SMEs. Currently, channel partners focusing on SME needs are still product-oriented and their revenue mix is dominated by computing and networking hardware (about 52 per cent).

Bourses lure small companies with lucrative offers
The Economic Times, 17 September 2007
SMEs (small and medium enterprises) may get a new breath of life with both the National Stock Exchange and the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) vying for these companies. BSE is believed to have sought regulatory approval to make its Indonext platform attractive for SMEs. It has joined hands with the State Bank of India in its latest initiative. BSE had submitted its proposal to the Securities and Exchange Board of India and is ready to dole out lucrative incentives like lower listing fees, reduced exchange charges and dilution in listing guidelines, if allowed by the regulator. There are a little over 500 companies trading on the Indonext platform. Indonext was launched in January 2005.

Karnataka firms get new technology
Business Standard, 13 September 2007
The state council has identified over 9,000 techniques from across the world. The Karnataka Council for Technological Upgrade has launched several initiatives to transfer the latest technologies to small and medium enterprises. The council’s objective is to enhance the competitiveness of the sector through technological upgrade. It will also help firms to plan their modernization and diversification programmes. The council is a joint venture of the central government, the Karnataka government and several industry associations.

SMEs in corridor must opt for eco-friendly production techniques
The Financial Express, 31 August 2007

The DMIC (Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor) project can be environmentally sustainable and cost-effective in the long run if the government encourages units coming up in the corridor to use CPT (Cleaner Production Technologies) from their inception, according to the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization). The UNIDO, which has been working for CPT since early 1990s in India, also proposed tax incentives for MSMEs (Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises) to help them invest in CPT as well as a voluntary `cleaner production audit' to be undertaken by the MSMEs. The UNIDO, a United Nations body responsible for industrial development, also said it could help in MSMEs in the industrial corridor to form clusters, which can in turn help mobilizing financial resources needed for purchasing environment friendly machinery.

XLRI to sharpen local SME skills
The Financial Express, 20 August 2007
The Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), which recently came forward to enhance skills of a batch of local entrepreneurs associated with the Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce & Industry, has promised to hold such short-term courses in the future as well for the benefit of the trade association's members. XLRI entrepreneur development cell coordinator Prof Prabal K Sen, who designed the course for a group of small & medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs, said the faculty too had been 'hugely' benefitted by interacting for the first time with SME entrepreneurs. The XLRI proposes to incorporate the knowledge it gained from the 'insights' and 'experiences' of the participants for future use. The B-school wants to enhance capabilities of local entrepreneurs by charting an action plan for them so that they do not fall behind in a fast-changing global scenario.

Foreign borrowings curb lending to SMEs
The Economic Times, 17 August 2007
Curbs on external commercial borrowings (ECB) will have an impact on the lending to small and medium enterprises. With the increased cost of overseas borrowings for corporates and a subsequent liquidity squeeze, SMEs will be affected due to longer repayment cycles of the corporates, bankers feel. Most public sector banks classify SMEs based on their investment in plant and machinery up to Rs 10 crore as per guidelines of the ministry of small-scale industries. The SMEs typically do not go in for ECBs, but depend on banks for their working capital loans. SMEs are already facing the heat with increase in interest rates, power shortages, rupee appreciation among other issues. With the services sector dominating the SME, and large corporates outsourcing their various requirements to Indian service providers, repayment cycles become crucial, bankers said.

UNIDO seeks govt nod to extend 5-year service network plan
Business Standard, 16 August 2007
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), which has been promoting the SME sector through various modes of intervention, is in talks with the commerce and industry ministry to extend the five-year country service network programme. The new strategy, to be implemented between 2007 and 2012, will see more intense and proactive interaction with the government while supporting the SME sector. The new five-year plan is likely to require funds worth $32 million out of which around $5 million will be spent every year. It has identified five focus areas for its future programmes — rural industrial development, women entrepreneurship, environment, energy sector, as well as development of the SME sector. The country service network programme of Unido provides support to the SME sector through trade-related technological assistance, clean and environment-friendly solutions as well as special programmes for industrially backward regions like the North Eastern states.

ICICI Bank, IBM, IFC launch toolkit for sector
Business Standard, 16 August 2007
In an effort to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) start, finance and grow their business, an on-line resource centre by the name of “India SME toolkit” has been launched by ICICI Bank, IBM and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank group. The website, www.india.smetoolkit.org, contains updated information and tools to enable SMEs in emerging markets learn how to increase productivity, efficiency and capacity, as well as improve their access to capital and new markets. The site offers off-line CDs, mobile alerts and classroom training, both in English and Hindi. The toolkit addresses issues concerning accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, insurance, marketing and sales, operations, technology, business news and others.

SME pharmas likely to get interest sops
The Economic Times, 16 August 2007
The government may provide an interest subsidy to SME pharma companies to upgrade their facilities in order to meet stringent quality protocols. The proposal in the draft pharma policy is getting support from different wings of the government. The Prime Minister’s Office is keen to take forward the proposal for extending 5% interest subsidy to SMEs facing a fund crunch in order to meet the health ministry’s revised good manufacturing practices (GMP). Once implemented, the interest subsidy scheme is likely to benefit close to 2,000 SMEs drug makers. The scheme would also come to the rescue of drug makers in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, several of whom have closed down due to lack of capital while others are struggling to find resources to meet the new GMP requirements. Several companies have also defaulted on loan repayments due to paucity of funds.

Companies can list different vehicles on AIM
Business Standard, 19 July 2007
The Alternative Investment Market (AIM), the London Stock Exchange’s market for early-stage growing companies, is a firm believer in the Indian growth story. It is in constant dialogue with Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to raise capital through equity and debt. About 20 companies have already listed on the AIM in the last two-and-a-half years. The AIM’s India business development head Mr Ibukun Adebayo says that the most encouraging aspect is that many of the 20 listed companies are planning follow-on equity offers.

Centre to adopt six handloom clusters in Orissa
Business Standard, 12 July 2007
73 handloom clusters have been identified in Orissa, covering almost all the weavers. The Union government has agreed to adopt 6 handloom clusters in Orissa. These clusters are Badamba in Cuttack district; Jagatsinghpur; Boudh, Berhampur in Ganjam district; Fakirpur in Keonjhar district and Patnagarh of Bolangir district. However, no fund has yet been sanctioned by the Union government for these clusters, according to state textile and handloom minister, Mr Golak Bihari Nayak. 73 handloom clusters have been identified in the state covering almost all the weavers. During 2007-08, a provision of Rs 4 crore was made in the central plan for adoption of 8 clusters. To facilitate handloom weavers in meeting the challenges of a globalised environment, the state government launched the Cluster Development Programme recently.

SMEs to get more funds
The Asian Age, 9 July 2007
A majority of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) plan to authorize more capital investment this year in comparison with the previous year, according to CII’s Business Outlook Survey. Out of these (91%), 20% of the respondents plan to authorize between 5-10% more capital investment and 15% of the respondents expect to authorize capital investment of more than 50%. According to the research findings, the production growth expectations of the surveyed respondents reveal that 69% of the respondents reveal that 69% of the respondents expect more than 10% growth in their production.

West Bengal setting up 37 industrial clusters for small & medium sector
The Financial Express, 28 June 2007
West Bengal is setting up 37 clusters for small and medium scale industries. While 91 others are in the pipeline, 17 have been approved for the handloom and khadi sector and 20 for conch shells, shitalpati, leather accessories etc. The investment for each cluster will be around Rs 3.5-4 crore, with the Centre contributing 75% and the state 20%.

RCOM, Cisco launch services for SMEs
The Economic Times, 28 June 2007
Telecom service provider Reliance Communication and Cisco, the networking and communication technology player, have launched business internet services for SMEs. The product which is for the first time introduced as a service to SME segment will bundle services such as high speed broadband access, anti-virus suite, business email packages, domain name service, firewall, local area network and wide area network among others. This will be offered on a pay-per-use basis at a cost of Rs 1200 to Rs 10,000 per month, depending upon the different services required and the area to automated. After Pune, the service will be offered in other cities too.

FICCI for cluster-based approachmerce and Industry (FICCI) has recommended a five-point strategy to boost development of small and mediu to boost SMEs
Business Standard, 25 June 2007
The Federation of Indian Chamber of Comm enterprises (SMEs) through the cluster-based approach. These points are technology and quality upgrade, low-cost financing, linkages between Indian and overseas SME clusters, marketing and export promotion and training, and skills upgrade. The industry chamber feels that the cluster-based approach should move up the value chain to a new trajectory by integrating the five suggested elements. It is of the view that lack of an inter-institutional synergy, dearth of committed NGOs and industry bodies, and paucity of good service providers have led to limited success of various initiatives undertaken so far.

PM keen on social security for SME workers
The Financial Express, 23 June 2007
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said the time was ripe for a new policy regime to take the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the next level and ensure a smooth transition without impediments. He further said he would ask finance minister Dr P Chidambaram to find possible ways for expanding access to capital, particularly risk capital. Singh was speaking at the “Emerging India Awards, 2007” organized by CNBC-TV 18. He said the government was committed to growth of SMEs and the emergence of new enterprise in the country. “We have passed the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise Development Act to promote growth of SMEs. A policy package has been announced for doubling credit flow to this sector. With growth of the economy, new opportunities have emerged in the SME sectors, like civil aviation, tourism, biotechnology and agriculture. The government is open to all new ideas on how to spread industrialization across the country,” Dr Singh said. The Prime Minister recognized the market imperfections, particularly in access to credit. Markets and technology place small enterprises at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis large enterprises.

Portal to enhance performance of SMEs launched
The Financial Express, 20 June 2007
National Manufacturing Portal—the first of its kind in the country—was launched to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the use of IT and enable them to compete more effectively in the international market. The portal (www.nmcc-vikas.gov.in or www.nmcc-vikas.in) has been created by National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) with support from Microsoft, India as a part of the "Project Vikas”. Project Vikas aims to develop knowledge networks through the creation of R&D linkages, capacity building with regional training institutes, sharing of best practices and enable linkage with the SME cluster eco-system. The portal includes knowledge base on different manufacturing sectors/sub-sectors; resources on Indian and international clusters; intellectual property rights (IPR), market information to improve market access; credit and finance related areas for SMEs including various policies, schemes etc.

Big companies make hay from shining SMEs
The Economic Times, 18 June 2007
The country’s GDP is growing at a robust 10%, largely driven by small and medium-sized enterprises, which are seeking funds to ramp up production. Experts now believe that as these companies look for expansion, the need for private equity will multiply. “Many of these companies are expected to make huge profits in the next few years of economic boom,” says AT Kearney’s Raman Mangalorkar, who consults SMEs. Not without reason, companies, including some big names in business, and from diverse fields like cement production, pharma manufacturing and retail are also creating PE funds to tap the business. Sample this: Of the well-known pharma major Ranbaxy has floated its fund Religare, the diversified Dalmia group, which also makes cements, has set up Landmark and retail giant Future group has launched Future Capital. Another diversified business house, Ashok Piramal group, has also floated the Peninsula Fund, while the Munjals of Hero group and Burmans of Dabur are investing aggressively in small companies. The opportunities are immense. And the best way a traditional business can make optimum use of opportunities being thrown by SMEs is by launching PE funds and taking their share of the SME growth pie.

Funds are coming cheap
Business Standard, 15 June 2007
Statistics show that most SMEs are availing of loans below prime lending rate. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their industry associations often complain about getting very little benefit from competitive lending rates (read loans are costly). While problems of delay in decision-making and availability of timely credit is an issue, industry statistics show that a major portion of the SMEs gets loans below the prime lending rate. At present, the rate that the country's largest lender charges is 12.75 per cent. Of SBI's total SSI credit portfolio of Rs 22,817 crore as on March 31, 2007, about 50 per cent (about Rs 11,000 crore) is advanced at sub-PLR.

Banks urged to boost credit
Business Standard, 1 June 2007
Industry has asked banks for greater assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) along with a rating system for the sector and transparency in service charges. The demands were made in the wake of difficulties faced by the industry such as high interest rates, insistence on collateral and guarantees by banks, higher interest on export credit and higher transaction costs. Addressing these demands at the Bankers-Borrowers Meet, organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr H N Sinor, chief executive, Indian Banks' Association said, "The Basel-11 prudential norms clearly mention the need for rating SMEs. Work is in progress for streamlining the SME rating and will be completed soon. Triple A ratings are also being given to SMEs to enable them to source funds at competitive rates."

Orissa IT firms seek more floor space in Infocity
Business Standard, 1 June 2007
Small and medium enterprises in the information technology (ITSMEs) sector in Orissa are approaching the government to increase the floor area ratio (FAR) of buildings in Infocity, the IT hub of the state. The demand is in line with the existing FARs for IT buildings in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The SMEs are also demanding an increase in the rent subsidy period from the present 1 year to 3 years and a hike in interest subsidy from the current 5 per cent on loans up to Rs 1 crore for 5 years.

ITC, Exim develop software for SMEs
The Financial Express, 30 May 2007
Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) in joint venture with Exim Bank has developed a software, ‘Loan.com’, which will help the SMEs of the country and other developing countries to be competent to enter the global market. A fund of 2,00,000 euros has been kept aside by the European Commission (EC) which will be used in financing those SMEs in the developed countries that are able to answer a series of questions as asked by the software. The 12-month pilot project ‘Building competitiveness for SME financing’, was successfully completed by the Exim Bank in the country. Even though there are 150 developing countries in the world as defined by the United Nations, the project is meant for the developing countries where the SMEs are finding it difficult to access financial resources and hence are unable to get global exposure.

In good health
The Economic Times, 29 May 2007
India's healthcare industry is valued at about $23 billion, which is almost four per cent of the GDP and is expected to grow at 12–13 per cent over the next five years. Health expenditure in India is to a large extent (close to 70 per cent) private payer dominated and the public sector, especially the state governments, contributes less than 30 per cent. The Government of India plans to improve health infrastructure by upgrading and increasing the total number of hospitals, clinics and clinical laboratories in urban and rural areas. This is expected to drive growth in this sector. According to industry estimates, 65 per cent of the Indian manufacturers can be classified as belonging to the SME sector and their average annual sale volume is not above $100,000. Forecasts assume a 3–7 fold increase by 2010.

BSE plans to launch platform for SMEs
Business Standard, 6 May 2007
The Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia’s oldest stock exchange, plans to launch a separate trading platform for SMEs. BSE was preparing a strategy for an SME exchange. Apart from the National Stock Exchange, others in the fray for launching an SME exchange are the Inter-Connected Stock Exchange and Financial Technologies. Inter-Connected Stock Exchange is a trading platform created by 13 regional stock exchanges, while Financial Technologies is the promoter of commodities exchange MCX. Financial Technologies proposes to enter the segment in partnership with the Small Industries Development Bank of India, the state-run lender for SMEs. The Over-The-Counter Exchange of India (OTCEI) also proposes to revive its trading platform after its earlier attempts to make itself a strong trading platform for SMEs failed to succeed

ICICI Bank launches Rs 1000 million fund for SMEs
The Economic Times, 27 April 2007
ICICI Bank announced a Rs 1000 million fund to support innovation and development of green businesses in India. The fund would provide short to medium-term loans ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 40 lakh to SMEs (small and medium enterprises). The bank has not identified any particular sector for lending but would focus on energy-efficient and environment-friendly ventures. `The dedicated fund would help SMEs to promote sustainable growth,' ICICI Bank deputy managing director Mr Nachiket Mor said, addressing a seminar organized by CII and the Indian Venture Capital Association. `The Rs 1000 million fund is an initial effort, let's see how we take it forward,' he added. In 2005/06, ICICI's microfinancing was to the tune of Rs 22,000 million and the bank expects significantly higher funding this fiscal, according to Mr Mor.

Big storage for small firms
Business Standard, 27 April 2007
With Indian SMEs shifting to network-based storage, IT's big boys are smelling big bucks in this volumes business. With IT adoption increasing among the small and medium enterprises (SME) managing data is becoming a clear priority. As per the IDC quarterly disk storage tracker, Indian external disk storage market clocked $209 million (approx. Rs 919 crore) in the calendar year 2006 and had witnessed a growth of 43 per cent on a yearly basis. In terms of capacity, the same market has expanded over 100 per cent in the same period and clocked 24.5 petabytes. Though an exact breakup for the SME segment is not available most of the companies agree that it contributes 30-40 per cent to their sales. According to IDC predictions for 2007, IT vendors will focus on mid-size enterprises, which require speedy implementations and target a reasonably quick return on their IT investments

Exim policy brings relief
Business Standard, 27 April 2007
This year's Exim policy has brought a degree of relief to small exporters with the extension of the export obligation under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme from eight to 10 years. The scheme which was initiated by Mr Murasoli Maran in 2002, allows the import of capital goods at five per cent duty in return for fulfilling specified export obligations. Under the new policy, tiny and cottage industries will be allowed to fulfill their export obligation within 12 years, instead of the earlier eight years. For SSIs, the 8 year cap has been retained. The policy has also raised the EPCG limit for SSI units from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 5 crore. Besides, if the unit's export performance during the past three years is more than Rs 10 crore, it would become eligible for export house recognition.

Groping in the dark
Business Standard, 20 April 2007
The oldest hub of scientific instruments and apparatus industry at Ambala is fast losing its identity owing to lack of grants and poor R&D. The industry, comprising a cluster of almost 800 small scale and cottage units, is about 50 years old. It has been passing through a rough patch due to obsolete technology, lack of research and development and government support requisite for the growth. Ashwani Goel, President Ambala Scientific Instruments Manufacturers' Association, says: "A centre of excellence, common facilities and upgradation of infrastructure is a must for the growth of industry". Proposal was sent for the modernization of industry under the cluster development programme of Government of India in which the industry bears 15 per cent of the total project cost, 10 per cent is to be contributed by the state government and 75 per cent is provided by the government of India but it has yet to fetch concrete results. The Scientific Instruments cluster of Ambala exports more than 50 per cent of its output to the developing counties of Africa, Far East Asia and Middle East worth Rs 100 crore annually. The political crisis in the Middle East severely hit the industry as it was a major export destination.

London SE sees strong Indian demand for AIM listings
The Hindu Business Line, 17 April 2007
Indian SMEs are likely to maintain the tempo on raising of growth capital through the Alternative Investments Market (AIM) in the current year too, a top London Stock Exchange (LSE) official has said. In 2006, 10 India-related companies/investment funds raised about $2.6 billion, accounting for 10 per cent of the total $26 billion of capital raised from AIM in that year.

Indian SMEs bullish on economic growth
Business Standard, 13 April 2007
Over 80 per cent of Indian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are optimistic about India’s growth story, according to the UPS Asia Business Monitor (UPS ABM) 2007 report. Last year, only 69 per cent expressed bullishness, which reflects that the level of confidence has risen by 17 per cent. Moreover, 89 per cent of Indian SMEs are confident about their company’s growth prospects, which is a consistent rise in growth expectations from 2006. This positive sentiment is reflected in Indian. There are roadblocks to competitiveness such as a lack of qualified workers, innovation, and government support. SME leaders in India cite a lack of supply chain efficiency and transportation infrastructure as the biggest obstacles to their competitiveness, factors considered both important and lacking. These obstacles need to be addressed to ensure their sustainable growth and competitive position in the global marketplace, states the report

Rate hike to hit profit margins
Business Standard, 13 April 2007
With close to 30-40 per cent of the small and medium enterprises (SME) funding coming from borrowings, the increase in interest rates is bound to affect SME margins by about 2-3 per cent, note industry experts. SMEs fear the repeated hike in prime lending rate (PLR) is likely to impact their bottom line. PLR is the rate at which banks extend loans to their most credit worthy customer. In the last one year, the PLR of most banks has increased by over 2 per cent.

MSE package inadequate
Business Standard, 30 March 2007
IFRASTE (Industrial and Financial Reconstruction Association for Small and Tiny Enterprises) and NACOSI (National Confederation of Small Industry) have come down heavily on the policy prescriptions for MSEs (micro and small enterprises). Mr D E Ramakrishnan, president, IFRASTE and NACOSI, said, “The policy talks about SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) scaling up and strengthening its credit operations for micro enterprises and covering 50 lakh additional beneficiaries over five years beginning 2006-07. It also talks of the government providing grant to SIDBI to augment SIDBI’s portfolio risk fund for this purpose. This sounds hollow as 2006-07 is almost over and no funds have been provided so far.”

We are only a Commission; the implementation is up to the Govt.
Mint, 7 April 2007

SME rating agency to expand operations in northern region
The Financial Express, 28 March 2007
In a bid to cater to the growing needs of the SME segment in northern region, the SMERA (SME Rating Agency of India Limited) has announced plans to set up four offices in Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir. `We will soon open our four offices in Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Jammu & Kashmir with a view to catering to the growing SME segments in these areas,' SMERA, Regional Manager (North), Mr Sumeet Mehta said. The agency would cater to existing industry clusters in Punjab and new industrial units being set up in hilly areas through its new offices, he said. The rating agency has so far done rating of 40 SMEs and received 225 proposals in this regard from northern region comprising Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.

Pharma SMEs may trade with margins
The Economic Times, 28 March 2007
The large number of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the pharmaceutical sector may be allowed to give a higher trade margin to chemists than their bigger rivals. This would help them compete with big pharma companies that employ a vast army of salesmen to promote their products. The chemicals and fertilizers ministry is working on a formula that is likely to be a part of the proposed notification on trade margin caps, sources told ET. One option the ministry is considering is to allow SMEs use a multiple of the price at which they get medicines from the manufacturer to compute the trade margin. This multiple could be decided in such a way that traders could get a little more than the proposed margin of 50% of the price to the consumer. The cap of 15% for wholesalers and 35% for retailers would be made applicable to the entire list of control-free drugs, irrespective of whether they are branded or not. Earlier, the government thought of capping margins of only non-branded medicines that form a small part of the market, dominated by SMEs. The logic is that big pharma companies have little share of the non-branded generics market and controlling margins in the segment would not be of use if prices are to be lowered across the board.

German SMEs keen on JV with India
EFY Times, 19 March 2007
Recently, a 21-member business delegation of small and medium entrepreneurs
from State of Saarland (Germany), led by its minister of Economics and Labour, Dr Hanspeter Georgi, was in the Kolkata to eye for business collaboration with their Indian counterparts. Talking to media, Dr Georgi said, “Saarland though is one of the small states in Germany with a population of around 1 million, but its geographical location holds potential for doing business in Europe.” He added, “I feel West Bengal is growing leaps and bounds in technologies in areas such as automobile, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, biotechnology, food processing machinery and equipment. It is also developing fast in areas such as IT and ITES. So we look forward to work closely.”

SSI quota to continue
Business Standard, 15 March 2007
The government has said it would continue to reserve items for exclusive manufacture by small-scale industries. `At present, 115 items are reserved for the small-scale sector. We will continue to reserve these items as it helps in promoting the small-scale sector,' industry secretary Mr Ajay Dua said. Addressing a conference on the state of competition in the Indian economy, Mr Dua said the government has reduced the number of reserved items from 812 to 115 items over the years.

A mixed bag: Budget 2007-08
Business Standard, 9 March 2007
Budget 2007-08 has been a mixed bag. The small-scale sector has received some attention. It was presented against a backdrop of high expectations with the economy having moved into the high growth trajectory of 8.5 per cent, supported by a strong growth in services and industry sector. Yet many observers believe that big-ticket reform in Budget 2007-08 have not been taken on the way they should have and tax changes have left most quarters wanting, as substantial giveaways had been anticipated. In a Budget speech that sought to strike the right notes with regard to inflation control and concern for the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man), the finance minister Mr P Chidambaram reported that the Forward Markets Commission had banned futures trading in wheat and rice, and introduced a dual taxation scheme for cement (pegged to a retail price of Rs 190 per bag of 50 kg). He dwelt at length on programmes for agriculture and announced hefty spending increases for education and health care as also for the infrastructure-oriented Bharat Nirman. But while extending the national rural employment guarantee scheme to 130 new districts (adding to the 200 covered this year), the financial allocation has not been increased much from this year’s budgeted number. There is a package of incentives for small and medium industry, including a raising of the exemption limit from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore.

Package for small units announced
The Hindu, 3 March 2007
The Centre has announced a package for promotion of micro and small enterprises, which calls for a comprehensive study to assess the needs and scope of government intervention required for enhancing the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises in the service/business sector. Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Minister for Small-Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries Mr Mahavir Prasad said that the package fulfilled the requirement in the National Common Minimum Programme for promoting economic growth that was employment-oriented. A technological mission would be established to assist small and medium enterprises in technology development, energy conservation, and pollution mitigation. A new scheme would be formulated to provide financial assistance to select management/business schools and technical institutes to conduct tailor-made courses. Five select universities/colleges would be financed to run 1200 entrepreneurial clubs. Under the package, the existing guidelines of the Small Industries Cluster Development Programme – renamed Micro and Small Enterprises Cluster Development– would be reviewed to accelerate holistic development of clusters. The Small Industries Development Bank of India would scale up and strengthen its credit operations for micro enterprises and cover 5 million additional beneficiaries over five years beginning 2006/07.

Big breaks for small units (Budget proposals)
Business Standard, 2 March 2007
Extension of Textile Upgradation Fund: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the textile sector had been asking for an extension of the scheme which offers the upgrading unit funds at five per cent interest. At a time when interest rates are moving up, the scheme will benefit smaller units that have to fall back on domestic banking channels to raise funds and do not have access to foreign markets. The availability of the scheme throughout the 11th five-year plan will ensure that textile units that were unable to access it during the last couple years will be able to avail of it now.

Raising the exemption limit on excise duty: The move will benefit SMEs with a turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore, allowing them to stay out of the excise net. Earlier, as soon as a unit reached the Rs 80 lakh or the 80 per cent threshold, it had to register with the excise department. With the new exemption limit, the 80 per cent threshold has gone up to Rs 1.25 crore and the excise duty payment begins only when turnover touches Rs 1.5 crore

Small change
Business Standard, 2 March 2007
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not likely to save much on account of the removal of surcharge on tax paid on book profit, as proposed in the budget for 2007-08. While it will encourage SMEs to invest in upgrading plant and machinery, it is unlikely to make a huge impact on their bottomlines. According to a study based on 1,300 companies with a taxable income of Rs 1 crore or less, these firms paid tax of Rs 157.29 crore in 2005-06 including the 10 per cent surcharge and education cess of two per cent on the tax paid in that year. It is assumed that these firms will pay a similar amount in tax during 2007-08, with savings from the removal of surcharge being around Rs 20 crore

SMEs notch up 54% net profit
Business Standard, 23 February 2007
Small- and medium-enterprises outperformed the BSE Sensex firms in terms of net profit growth in the first nine months of financial year 2006-07. A total of 595 SMEs (excluding banks and NBFC) posted a 54 per cent growth in net profit, compared to 27 per cent by 25 sensex firms in first nine months (April-December 2006). The aggregate net profit of these companies increased from Rs 17,202 crore to Rs 26,479 crore during April to December, 2006. The total sales of these firms increased 28 per cent to Rs 3,59,252 crore (from Rs 2,80,844 crore). Income from other sources rose 24 per cent from Rs 7,157 crore to Rs 8,856 crore and the interest burden increased by 22 per cent to Rs 8,618 crore (Rs 7,067 crore) during the period.

SEBI okay with bourse for SMEs
Business Standard, 15 February 2007
The SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) is understood to have taken an in-principle view to promote an exchange for small and medium en
terprises (SME exchange) as part of the existing stock exchanges. The regulator is reportedly of the view that the objective of the exchange will be to provide capital to SMEs, which in turn will help them grow in size. Subsequently they could list in bigger exchanges, which then will be more of a formality rather than a separate exercise. This is because, the bigger exchanges by then will have the preliminary data for necessary surveillance of the companies. While the guidelines may not have much changes in corporate governance norms, the cost of listing for SMEs will be drastically cut down, said the source. Further the companies under SME category will be categorized as the one with capital base of Rs 5-10 crore. It was one of the issues taken up in the recently held technical advisory committee and will be discussed in the board meeting for finalizing guidelines.

SMEs queue up to get themselves rated
The Financial Express, 15 February 2007
Recognizing the significance of improved credit flow and transparency, large number of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are approaching rating agencies to avail improved credit and better rate of interest. Rating agency Crisil, which started with rating of SMEs in April 2005 has received a warm response, with 650 companies rated till date. Speaking at a seminar SME - The world of opportunities in Mumbai, Mr Yogesh Dixit, head-SME Ratings, Crisil, said, “Timely and adequate availability of credit is imperative for growth of the SME sector. Rating acts as an effective tool for all the stakeholders and gives a distinction in credit quality to lenders.” Given the subsidies given by NSIC (National Small Industries Corporation Ltd), rating services have become affordable for SMEs. With a 75% reimbursement of the rating fee from NSIC, rating fees range between Rs 7587 to Rs 13875.

Strategic planning, risk management vital for SMEs
The Financial Express, 15 February 2007
Experts who gathered at the seminar SME - The World of Opportunities reiterated the role played by the small and medium industries in economic development, the prospects and challenges ahead. Inaugurated by Dr P K Biswas, executive director, Reserve Bank of India, the opening session covered in detail some issues the sector faces today, like strategic planning and risk management, benefits of raising funds abroad, role of infrastructure in growth, how to face market realities and various modes of SME financing. Delivering the inaugural address, Dr Biswas gave a holistic view on the Indian SME sector and emphasized the importance of strategic planning and risk management, in a scenario where the sector is prone to volatile market forces and limited finance back up. There was an overall consensus amongst the experts that there is a huge potential for the sector to grow. However, they believed that if the sector has to grow at the rate forecast, then it is very important that it grows through self-development and self- evolvement rather than depending on the favours earned through legislations. Financing is absolutely vital for the sector, as SME have to depend on financing throughout their lifecycle, right from creation to daily operations

Italy signs 3 pacts to boost business ties
The Hindu Business Line, 13 February 2007
Three MoUs (memoranda of understanding) were signed between Indian and Italian firms on Monday, when the largest-ever Italian SMB (Small & Medium Businesses) delegation of 400 entrepreneurs visited Kolkata to explore businesses opportunities in the State and hold discussions with their counterparts. While one MoU was signed between Magaldi Power and DC Industrial Plant Services Pvt Ltd for an exclusive licensing arrangement for selling the Magaldi MAC dry bottom ash extraction system for West Bengal, the other was between Unione Parmense Degli Industriali and the Confederation of Indian Food Trade & Industry for "promoting, improving and developing economic relations and investments between the Indian and Italian business communities engaged in the food sector". The third MoU was signed between the Council for Leather Exports and the National Association of Italian Manufacturers of Footwear, Leather Goods and Tanning Machinery for setting up a tanning training & service centre in Kolkata and to provide assistance in terms of machinery and trainers.

Italian fund to strengthen SME ties with India
The Economic Times, 12 February 2007
The 'Go India' fund, set up by seven Italian banks, would help strengthen ties between SMEs of the two countries, Italy's Minister for International Trade Ms Emma Bonino said. Briefing reporters at the sidelines of an investment seminar, Ms Bonino said the Euro 300 million-fund would focus on the specific SME sectors and would facilitate business promotion between the two countries. In the next three years, bilateral trade between the two countries was expected to touch $10 billion from the current levels of $4.6 billion, she said. The areas where Italian business was interested were film-making, mechanics, traditional craft, biotechnology, infrastructure, logistics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and distribution in India.

Social security for unorganized sector
Business Standard, 9 February 2007
The NCEUS (National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector) has suggested setting up a social security fund for workers in the unorganized sector. The commission has submitted the report to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The commission is also planning to suggest a provision for unemployment insurance. NCEUS was set up two years ago under the chairmanship of economist and member of Parliament, Dr Arjun Sengupta. Besides, workers in the unorganized sector, the commission is preparing a report on credit access for the micro and tiny enterprises in the country. There are 1.15 crore such enterprises in the sector. “A majority of bank loans directed at the SME sector is going to SMEs with a turnover of more than Rs 5 crore. The tiny and micro enterprises in the Rs 20-25 lakh turnover category hardly get any funding. We are preparing a status report on this which will be submitted to the government by September 2007,” Member-secretary of NCEUS, Mr V K Malhotra said.

Nutan no more
Business Standard, 26 January 2007
The growing popularity of LPG has put paid to the hopes of Nutan stove makers in Madhya Pradesh.
Massive shortage of kerosene and the growing use of LPG for cooking have snuffed out the flickering hopes of Nutan wick-stoves makers in Madhya Pradesh. Manufacturers say that if government does not stop the black marketing of kerosene at prices far higher than those stipulated, this poor people’s product will soon become a ‘museum piece’. Of the 12 licensed manufacturers of Nutan wick-stoves, developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum in the 1960s, four are in Madhya Pradesh. Two are in Indore and two in Ujjain. Two of these companies have shut shop. Two others also see a bleak future for their product and are planning to switch to other products. The manufacturers say if the government makes efforts to make kerosene easily available and slash its black market prices, the units may get a fresh lease of life.

India, US to co-operate to promote SMEs
The Economic Times, 24 January 2007
India and the United States of America will enter into an agreement for cooperation in the small and medium enterprises segment of the two countries. The objective is to bring in investment and technology from rich American SMEs. This is because the size of American SMEs in terms of both investment and capacity is far more than that of Indian SMEs. Such a partnership with boost job creation in the country. The two governments will develop a work plan to identify specific joint activities. These will include exchanging technical expertise and experience, sharing information on the small business programmes, products and services, facilitating business alliances promoting business linkages identifying investment and commerce opportunities in each country. The two sides will also organize joint trade promotion programmes, conferences, expositions, etc. The Ministry of Small Scale Industries is also seeking to share the experience of the US SBA, particularly in the creation of specialized small business investment companies, equity investment through small business investment companies, federal procurement assistance, research and development assistance.

Textile units get IT savvy
Business Standard, 19 January 2007
Indian textile businesses are increasingly investing in IT infrastructure. The textile sector’s ambition to touch the $85 billion mark by 2010 may not fructify, if it lags in using technology. But an increasing number of owners of textile units believe that IT is not only essential but indispensable. Given that more than 85 per cent of the industry consists of small units, the rising trend of textile units going in for IT-related infrastructure is a positive sign. Increasingly complex product mixes and longer processing sequences are intensifying the need for IT infrastructure. In composite mills (spinning, weaving, garmenting, retailing), these are becoming inevitable. Information technology can streamline processes by organizing information from manufacturing, sales and finance, enabling data sharing for improved decision making. Hyderabad-based Suryajyoti Spinning Mills has connected its plants with a network.

SISI to help Agra units
Business Standard, 19 January 2007
In an effort to promote the growth of cottage and small scale industries in Agra, the SISI (Small Industries Services Institute), working under the Union ministry for small industries, has decided to offer the small industries of Agra a chance to participate in three international trade fairs to be held in France, Hong Kong and Australia. The industrialists of Agra and Firozabad have been invited to participate in the international handicrafts and trade fair to be held in Leon, France between 16-26th March where the industrialists will be able to display their product line to international buyers. The other fairs include the international trade fair of leather fashion garments to be held in Hong Kong between 28 and 30 March, and the multi-purpose cottage industry trade fair to be held in Melbourne.

IFC and CII may ink pact to help SMEs in NE
The Economic Times, 20 November 2006
The IFC (International Finance Corporation), as part of its South Asia Enterprise Development Facility, will help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in north-east India access marketing expertise needed to scale up their operations while also funding skill development initiatives in the region. IFC will sign an MoU with CII to be the institutional partner to the rural business hub initiative of the Panchayati Raj Ministry and the chamber. Under the MoU, IFC will facilitate, support and promote RBHs in the north-east in agri-business, poultry, fisheries, handicrafts and initiatives relating to non-conventional energy sources.

Project Vikas: Microsoft’s initiative for MSME development
Business Standard, 20 November 2006
Manufacturing has been India’s lynchpin for sustainable development, employment generation, continued economic growth and fostering innovation. It is critical for SMEs to significantly enhance competitiveness. Microsoft, in partnership with National Manufacturing Competitive Council and other industry stakeholders, aims to address this gap through “Project VIKAS” which is a holistic and scalable, five year action plan designed to enhance the competitiveness of India’s SME sector through a multi-pronged strategy, encompassing skill and capacity building, knowledge creation and dissemination, and enablement of linkages in the cluster ecosystem. The project signifies a long term commitment by Microsoft India to help the Indian SME sector address its `soft’ challenges and gear up to effectively to face global competition.

Saluting the Indian MSMEs: Ministry of SSI and CII partnership
Business Standard, 20 November 2006
The MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector in India is an emerging, vibrant and powerful economic player and is expected to contribute to the overall output of the country. There are three strategic interventions happening at the policy level for further promoting this sector.

- The enactment of the MSME Act since October 2006, which is expected to provide an enabling environment for a healthy growth of this sector. This Act in its implementation is expected to address issues of accessing finance, delayed payments, credit rating of MSMEs, simplification of procedures, etc.
- The reserved list of items is down to 326 products for MSMEs. This is gradually being dereserved.
- The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council outlined a National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme highlighting a roadmap for MSMEs to become highly efficient by adopting globally benchmarked practices.

Small-scale industries` investment declines in Punjab
Business Standard, 10 November 2006
Although Punjab manages to attract huge investment in real estate as far as the small-scale industries sector is concerned, the situation is grim. This indicates that in coming years the pace of industrial growth in the state may slow down. According to data collected from the industries department, there had been significant decline in terms of new investment in Punjab in the SSI sector, while units are keen to go to Himachal Pradesh to get the tax sops there. In 2005-06, 692 units were registered in Punjab, in comparison with 798 units in 2004-05 in the SSI sector. As far total investment is concerned, it was Rs 117.83 crore in 2005-06, whereas it was Rs 140.60 crore in 2004-05. In 2002-03, the total number of units registered in the SSI sector was 833, as against 729 in 2003-04. In 2001-02, 1162 new units were registered. On the other hand, in 2005-06 alone, about 1970 units in the SSI sector were registered in Himachal Pradesh with an investment of about Rs 990 crore. The state is witnessing decline in investment in the SSI sector ever since 1995-96. On the one hand, new investment is not coming, and on the other, existing industries are finding it difficult to survive in the absence of any sops in the state. Already hundreds of foundry units in Batala, dyeing and printing units in Amritsar, and cycle parts units in Ludhiana have closed operations.

Uttar Pradesh to focus on cluser development
Business Standard, 9 November 2006
The Uttar Pradesh government will focus on cluster development in the Eleventh Plan while skill development through private-public partnership would be given importance. This was stated by Mr Govindan Nair, Principal Secretary, Small Scale Industries and Export Promotion, Uttar Pradesh, at the conference Innovation and faster growth: The challenge for SMEs, organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in association with the National Knowledge Commission in the city. ‘The Knowledge Commission was working on making SMEs all over the country competitive and innovative,’ said Mr Ashok Ganguly, member, National Knowledge Commission, in his address. He pointed out the advantages of entrepreneur skills in the country and called for linking and offering innovation for development of the country.

Banks go for green push
Business Standard, 3 November 2006
Yes Bank and Exim Bank signed an MoU with CII - GBC (Godrej Green Business Centre) to promote small and medium enterprises in auto ancillary, textiles, gems and jewellery, media and entertainment and life sciences and biotech sectors. The objective of the MoUs is to promote green enterprises among the SMEs to make their products export-worthy. The green enterprises are typically energy efficient and help in sustaining the natural resources. The tie-ups with the banks will essentially focus on the facilitation of such small and medium units. The financial institutions will focus on developing renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure among SMEs. Yes Bank will create 20 teams across the country, to identify emerging SMEs in different regions. National Capital Region Pune-Nashik, Ahmedabad-Surat, Hyderbad-Bangalore and Kolkata-Orissa belts are among the main focus areas of Yes Bank.

An African safari could be profitable for Indian SMEs
The Financial Express, 1 November 2006
Africa is currently experiencing its best economic performance in many years. Riding the global economic recovery and a general rise in global commodity prices— chiefly oil, copper, timber and coal—economic growth in Africa as a whole has crossed the 5% mark. In 2005-06, India exported goods to Africa worth $5.5 billion and imported goods worth $4 billion. SMEs (small and medium enterprises) directly contribute more than 35% to India’s exports and in most products, they are the main contributor to exports to Africa. The contribution of the Indian diaspora in southern and eastern Africa is significant in India’s trade, as they own distribution channels, manufacturing facilities and even mines in these countries. Despite this advantage, the India-Africa trade potential has remained for long largely unexploited. Key segments like consumer durables, industrial supplies and joint ventures for re-exports need to be explored. In all these segments, Africa is the new battlefield for China and India, with the impact being more pronounced in consumer durables. As far as industrial supplies for the manufacturing sector in Africa is concerned, opportunities exist for Indian SMEs in high-tech and high value added products in sectors such as engineering and electricals, chemicals and pharma and plastics. A recent Engineering Export Promotion Council study has identified capital goods, electrical products, cranes, lifts and winches, as well as construction and excavating machinery and parts for focus in Africa. In addition, pipes and fittings and small plants for plastics, food processing and packaging also have a good scope for export in Africa. Another area that needs to be seriously looked at by Indian SMEs is establishing manufacturing in select countries for re-export to the European Union. The EU is Africa’s most important market, with more than 30% share of African exports. Indian SMEs encounter several constraints in exploiting business opportunities in Africa. The biggest constraint is the absence of banking channels. Financial markets in Africa are fragmented and African SMEs themselves suffer from their apathy. Indian banks should be persuaded to open branches in major centres in focused countries. Some mechanism for realizing bad debts are also needed as defaults are common and discourage SMEs to export to Africa. Secondly, SMEs suffer from the inconsistency and arbitrariness of the import policies and procedures in these markets. Seeking a predictable and transparent trade regime for India’s exports should become an important issue in bilateral talks with African countries. Thirdly, arbitrary freight and transport charges in most of the African countries, with the exception of South Africa, dissuade SMEs from entering into long-term contracts. Fourthly, Export-Import Bank of India credit lines have so far never focused on exports from SMEs

Master plan soon to boost Karnataka SSIs
The Financial Express, 30 October 2006
The Karnataka government is set prepare a master plan to boost SSIs (small-scale industries) in a bid to attract more entrepreneurs. For this purpose, a state-level team has been pressed into action to carry out surveys in all 29 districts to study the current condition of SSIs in the state. According to Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association President, Mr R Prithviraj, the state comprises more than 800 000 SSI units, both under the organized and unorganized sectors, where close to 3 million people are employed. SSIs produce more than 2800 products in Karnataka, dominating other states in six segments—garments, machine tools and accessories, auto components, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and information technology. In total, Karnataka SSIs are making products worth Rs 640 billion every year and generate Rs 270 billion of foreign exchange through exports, Mr Prithviraj said. In total, 52% of SSIs in the state are located in rural areas while the remaining 48% operate in urban pockets, especially in Bangalore and its surrounding areas. In the last 10 years, lack of infrastructure, finance, effective market access, and bureaucratic bottlenecks has pushed several SSIs into sickness.

SMEs untouched by fiscal reforms
The Asian Age, 23 October 2006
Financial sector reforms in India have been of little use for the small and medium size enterprises as also for India’s rural poor, points out a recent study by the World Bank. The report, which focuses on the agenda of `inclusive growth’ in the India economy, says that while there have been reforms in the financial sector, from 1991 onwards, those have mostly helped in liberalizing the capital market and have been helpful for big firms to assess finance. The report points out that small and medium size enterprises are unable to receive credit at the levels that is required that is required by them. It also shows that ratio of private credit to GDP in India remains very low. The study recommends that if the financial sector is to contribute more fully to inclusive economic growth, it must reach out to more people.

Loan channels open up for SMEs
Business Standard, 20 October 2006
Even as SMEs are fast becoming the buzzwords for the banking and finance sector, the public sector Bank of Baroda has fired the first salvo by starting a new business delivery model – SME Loan Factory. The model which primarily aims at cutting down the turnaround time for sanctioning financial assistance to SME players, is based on the assembly line concept in a manufacturing set up where the flow of work is defined, removing all bottlenecks. SME Loan Factory has a central processing hub, which will ensure speedy decision-making, especially the appraisals.

Indian SMEs expected to double in size
Business Standard, 20 October 2006
The $10 billion auto components industry will double in size to become a $22 billion industry by 2010, similarly, exports of auto components will grow from $1.8 billion in 2005 to $4.5 billion by 2010, says a recent study by D&B (Dun & Bradstreet) in association with the SMERA (SME Rating Agency of India Ltd. D&B along with SMERA announced the launch of its first series of publication, Emerging SMEs of India series of six publications covering auto components, textiles, food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and engineering to address these needs. The first publication in the series titled Emerging Auto Components SMEs of India, the domestic auto components industry will double in size by 2010 from $10 billion in FY (financial year) 2006 to $22 billion by 2010. Even the exports are set to grow from $1.8 billion in FY 2005 to $4.5 billion by 2010. There are multiple factors that are seeing the auto component industry record such exponential growth. The publication also studies the banking preferences of the SMEs and notes that nearly 66 per cent of the profiled companies preferred banking with public sector banks, followed by private banks and cooperative banks.

Rs 22,500 million package for small units
Business Standard, 18 October 2006
The government has finalised a comprehensive promotional package of over Rs 22,500 million for the small-scale sector, which includes increasing the general excise exemption limit for micro and small enterprises from Rs 10 million to Rs 12.5 million. The fiscal impact of the promotional measures, approved by the Cabinet, in the current financial year will come to Rs 840 million. This includes Rs 400 million as support for cluster-based development, Rs 250 million for setting up of a risk capital fund, and Rs 100 million for augmentation of a portfolio risk fund. The small enterprise turnover eligibility limit for general excise exemption has been enhanced from Rs 40 million to Rs 50 million. Also, micro and small enterprises will now be allowed to pay excise duty by 45 days, as against 15 days at present. In order to encourage small enterprises to graduate to the medium enterprise level, the general excise exemptions will be extended to graduating enterprises for three years after such graduation at a tapering scale of 75, 50 and 25 per cent, respectively.

Centre may 'teach' SMEs marketing
The Financial Express, 18 October 2006
The ministry of textiles is actively looking to augment the 'marketing skills' of small and medium entrepreneurs so as to enable a systematic and organized way of selling their produce. “Under the policy, the office is organizing workshops in such areas where there is rich potential of marketing handicraft,” Central Region Office, Development Commissioner (Handicraft) Mr V D Chaturvedi said on the sidelines of a one-day state-level marketing workshop on handicrafts of Uttar Pradesh.

SMEs turn to SMERA to get credit rating
The Economic Times, 12 October 2006
SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are turning to the SMERA (SME rating agency of India) to assess their credit-worthiness. SMERA is a joint initiative of SIDBI (Small Industry Development Bank of India), Dun & Bradstreet, Credit Information Bureau and 16 leading banks of the country. The banks help SMERA with database for assessing SMEs. Nearly 240 units have been rated by SMERA, which came into being on 5 September 2005. Another 500 units are about to receive rating certificates, applications of which are being processed.

Investment envisaged in food processing in next plan period
The Financial Express, 11 October 2006
The government envisages an investment of Rs 50,000 crore in the food processing industry during the 11th Five Year Plan. Out of this, the government’s share will be 10%, industry’s 40% and banks and financial institutions’ 50%, Mr Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister of State for Food Processing said. These investments will go towards building backward and forward linkages in the supply chain, testing facilities and setting up new abattoirs. The government is also setting up a “National Meat Board” to promote the meat processing industry, Mr Sahai said at a CII workshop. This will implement a policy to develop this sector of the food processing industry and oversee aspects such as research and development, quality assurance and hygiene. The government plans to set up 100 abattoirs through the public-private partnership route in different parts of the country. The food processing industry needs to adhere to strict guidelines on standards that will be incorporated in the proposed law on food processing, that is expected to be notified shortly, Mr Sahai said.

D&B series on Indian SMEs to enhance their global visibility
The Financial Express, 6 October 2006
D&B (Dun & Bradstreet) and the SME Rating Agency of India have launched D&B’s “Emerging SMEs of India” series of publications with an aim to enhance the sector’s global visibility. The first publication in this series is the “Emerging Auto Component SMEs of India,” which profiles 370 companies with a turnover of less than less than Rs 1 billion. Of these, 160 firms are small-scale, with investments in plant and machinery of less than Rs 50 million, and a sales turnover not exceeding Rs 1 billion. The other sectors in the series are textiles, engineering, pharma, chemicals and food processing.

Microsoft training for Indian SME clusters
The Financial Express, 6 October 2006
Microsoft India will train a group of Tirupur exporters in reaching out to customers through e-mail and export documentation. The aim is to give Tamil Nadu’s textile and apparel clusters a global edge in the next couple of years. Microsoft has also taken up clusters in Ahmedabad (pharma) and Pune (auto components) under its $15 million project, Vikas, which took off in 2005.

Ministry, plan panel oppose big sops for SMEs
The Economic Times, 5 October 2006
A series of fiscal and promotional incentives proposed for small units have hit a roadblock due to strong resistance from the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission. Incentives that may cost the government Rs 3300 crore under two different schemes are stuck due to the opposition from these departments. Despite clearance from the department of expenditure, the new promotional package prepared by the ministry of SSI is yet to reach the Cabinet as the department of revenue is not supporting it. The package was supported by the banking division in the ministry of finance. SSI units are keenly waiting for the package as the last package offered by the government was way back in 1991. The current package is estimated to cost Rs 2300 crore over the next five years.

SSI credit trust corpus to swell to Rs 2500 crore
The Economic Times, 5 October 2006
The Ministry of Finance will enhance the corpus of the credit guarantee trust for small industry to Rs 2500 crore from the existing Rs 1400 crore. While inaugurating the National Expo of Small, Khadi, Village and Coir Industries, the Finance Minister Mr P Chidambaram said the government will raise the corpus in five years time. The credit disbursed by public sector banks to small and micro enterprises has gone up by 21.6% while credit disbursals to small and medium enterprises has grown by 28% in 2005-06.