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Role in the Development of Micro and Small Enterprises
By H P Kumar, CMD, National Small Industries Corporation

The small enterprise sector has grown rapidly over the years. This sector continues to have an edge in steering the economy by achieving persistent higher growth rate and providing additional employment opportunities. Besides, the sector has proved its mettle in the liberalised economic environment in the country. The post WTO era has thrown up several challenges and opportunities to the small enterprises. Small enterprises in the current times are facing problems mainly in the areas of access to credit, marketing, technology upgradation and information. The need of the hour is to facilitate sustenance support to the small enterprises through an institutional mechanism to address the twin challenges of growth and competition.

National Small Industries Corporation
National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC), as ISO (9001:2000) company, has completed 51 years of its service to the small enterprises. Over a period of five decades of transition, growth and development, NSIC has proved its strength within the country and abroad by promoting modernisation, quality consciousness, strengthening of linkages with large and medium enterprises and enhancing exports from small scale industries sector. NSIC has promoted and nurtured a large number of first generation entrepreneurs to establish their small enterprises. During this period, the Corporation provided wide range of services to SSI sector in the areas of Marketing, Financing, Technology upgradation, Exports, Training and Common Facilities.

NSIC has taken many new initiatives of the development of small enterprises like Performance and Credit Rating Scheme and tie-ups with banks for enhanced credit flow to small enterprises, establishing of Technology Incubators and Informatory Services.

Changing role of NSIC
NSIC has now revised its business strategies for the future in order to serve the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and to meet the aspirations of there sub sectors of the industry as per the MSMED Act, 2006. NSIC’s role is further going to widen to cater to the needs of a larger number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. For this, NSIC is drawing up the necessary infrastructure to meet the increasing requirement of these sub sectors. NSIC has drawn a strategy to assist small enterprises in enhancing their competitiveness with a set of specially tailored schemes. Also, in line with current economic changes, NSIC has introduced many new schemes from time to time for the development of the small enterprises.

Various initiatives taken by the Corporation show its steadfastness in serving the cause of the small enterprise sector. The following initiatives show a determination of the Corporation to reach out to the small enterprises for providing them the services at the doorstep.

New Initiatives of NSIC
Implementation of Performance and Credit Rating Schemes for Small Enterprises
NSIC had formulated the “Performance and Credit Rating Schemes” for small enterprises, which was launched on 7th April 2005 by Mr. P. Chidambaram, Hon’ble Union Finance Minister and Mr. Mahabir Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister of SSI & ARI.

NSIC is the implementing agency and operating the scheme through accredited rating agencies i.e., CARE, CRISIL, D&B, FITCH, ICRA, ONICRA and SMERA. The fee to be paid by the small enterprises for the rating is subsidised by the Government to the extent of 75% up to a maximum of Rs. 40,000/-. The scheme has become quite popular now and getting good response from the small enterprises.

The rating services as a trusted third party opinion on the unit’s capabilities and credit worthiness. A good rating enhances the acceptability of the rated unit in the market and also facilitates them to make access to credit quicker and cheaper and thus help in economising the cost of credit.

Meeting credit needs of small enterprises through tie-up arrangements with Banks
One of the major challenges faced by small enterprises is inadequate access to finance due to lack of financial information and non-formal business practices. In the year 2005-06, NSIC launched a new scheme for facilitating sanction of loans for small enterprises from commercial banks. NSIC has entered into tie-up arrangements with various banks (i.e., United Bank of India, UCO Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Central Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, YES Bank and UTI Bank) for sanction of term loan and working capital facilities to the small enterprises as per their requirement. Such arrangements would facilitate smooth credit flow to small enterprises.

Insurance of Export Credit for small enterprises under strategic alliance between NSIC and ECGC
NSIC has entered, recently, into an arrangement with Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Limited (ECGC) for facilitating small enterprises to insure their export credits. Small enterprises would be helped in insuring their export credits through any office of the Corporation, located all over the country. This arrangement shall strengthen promotion of exports from small enterprises.

Reaching out to Small Enterprises
For the purpose of reaching out to the small enterprises, NSIC, during the year 2006-07, signed MOUs with various industry associations located all over the country. The details/information about the schemes of the Corporation is being disseminated through the offices of the industry associations. This arrangement with the industry association/federation shall facilitate small enterprises in getting the services of the Corporation at their doorstep.

Establishment of Business Incubator
NSIC has set up a Technology Business Incubator for the IT sector in the premises of NSIC-Technical Service Centre at Okhla, New Delhi. Infrastructure facilities like ready to move in space, hardware, software etc. has been provided in the IT incubator. These facilities are available to the IT Incubator occupants, which include first generation entrepreneurs, start-up entrepreneurs having viable business projects, individuals aspiring to venture into new projects. Once the projects in IT incubator are ready for commercialisation, the marketing services, legal services, advisory services are also provided to them.

New infrastructure projects to facilitates SMEs in marketing their products
NSIC is establishing a Marketing Development-cum-Business Part at Okhla, New Delhi, and also developing an Exhibition-cum-Marketing Development Business Part at Hyderabad. A Laghu Udyog Mart is also being set up at Okhla, New Delhi by utilizing the available space and erecting sufficient number of hangers for exhibition purposes.

After completion of these projects, adequate infrastructure facilities shall be provided to the micro, small & medium enterprises at economical rates. This will help them in enhancing their marketing avenues by way of capturing new markets and expanding existing market.

Internal Cooperation
For the last five decades, NSIC has acquired various skill sets in the development process of small enterprises. The inherent skills are being networked to offer consultancy services for other developing countries. This activity has been started during 2004-05 and is expected to occupy a place in the future service profile of the Corporation. The areas of consultancy are as listed below:
Capacity Building
Entrepreneurship Development
Policy and Institutional Framework
Business Development Services
One of NSIC’s objectives is to facilitate sustainable international partnerships. The emphasis is on sustainable business relations rather than on one-way relations. Since its inception, NSIC has contributed to strengthening enterprise-to-enterprise cooperation, south-south cooperation and sharing best practices and experiences with other developing countries, especially those in African, Asian and Pacific regions. Important initiatives are through setting up of institutional frameworks for promotion of small enterprises; conducting techno-economic assessment surveys; setting up industrial estates, provision of common facility services; support and extension services; supply of machinery, equipment and transfer of technology; Ancillary development and subcontracting relationships; and Technical and Entrepreneurial Training.

Future Outlook
On the future outlook, increasing the reach of NSIC to a larger number of micro and small enterprises and providing them the integrated support services will be the main focus. It will be NSIC’s endeavour to strengthen small enterprises to meet the demand of global competitiveness, which is the key to the future of small enterprises in the present context.

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   RNI No. WBENG/2008/27737
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