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Financial hiccups of SC/ST Entrepreneurs must be addressed on priority: CII Regional Conference

February 15, 2019:

Govt urged the SC/ST & MSME players to keep themselves abreast with the latest information, skillsets & know-how to remain competitive, both in domestic & global marketplaces.

SC ST and MSME players
SC ST and MSME players

Country’s SC/ST entrepreneurs, particularly from the MSME fraternity, lag far behind when it comes to the access to finance, & their concerns need to be addressed on urgent basis, opined industry leaders at CII’s Regional Conference on MSME Financing.

“Among MSMEs, the share of funding being secured by the SC/ST business community is negligible. Unfortunately, due to few bad experiences, the bankers have developed a negative opinion about the SC/ST community. The Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DICCI) has entered into an MoU with State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BoB), Indian Bank & Indian overseas bank – however, many banks & branch managers still hold the perception that unless a collateral is given in the form of a physical asset, they will not be able to fund even a commercially viable project,” rued Ravi Kumar Narra, DICCI’s National Working President. Partners for the conference included the Ministry of MSME, NSIC & the National SCST Hub- a Ministry of MSME Initiative.

Hoping for change in status quo, Narra added that quite-a-robust participation by SC/ST entrepreneurs in Government’s flagship schemes such as, ‘Stand-Up India’, ‘Start-Up India’, & in various schemes being facilitated by the National SC/ST hub, do indicate that things are fast changing on the ground. “Now, SC/ST entrepreneurs are being encouraged. There are useful schemes such as ed National Credit Guarantee Fund, Interest Subvention Scheme, Credit Linked Capital Subsidy for Technology Upgradation (CLCSS) etc, but awareness is still an issue,” added Narra.

Extending the remark made by the Union Minister for MSME Giriraj Singh during his address that an increased sync, in policy & intent (colloquially speaking: niti & niyat) is required for tackling funding hiccups of the unserved & underserved MSME segment. Emandi Sankara Rao, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer at IFCI Limited, opined that besides providing funding opportunities, handholding of entrepreneurs is the need of the hour.

“One problem witnessed among MSME entrepreneurs is that they at times, know of an opportunity but don’t know how to transform it into a commercially viable business plan & therefore awareness programmes for MSMEs should be promoted aggressively,” said the chief of the public sector NBFC.

Talking about IFCI venture fund, Rao mentioned that ever since its launch in 2015, the fund has sanctioned around Rs 322 crore. “Currently, keeping into account newer digital paradigms, our thrust is on technology-based sunrise sectors, and for women & disabled citizens we offer concessional rates”, Rao added.

Addressing the gathering, Shyam Kapoor, Chairman-cum-Managing Director National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSCFDC) highlighted the key features of 11 SC-focussed schemes, adding that the apex organization focussed on financing income generating ventures of SCs, is not in the business of profit making, evident from its average lending that hovers at 2.7%.

According to G Ramesh kumar, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, National Scheduled Tribes Finance & Development Corporation (NSTFDC), most of the trade bodies, mandated with promoting SC/ST and MSME entrepreneurs still work in silos and thus going forward, a better coordination among associations & stakeholders, will be required to facilitate both effective policymaking & actualising [policies’] intended outcomes.

Representing the MSME department (GoI), Arun Kumar Panda, Secretary of MSME, while elucidating the nuances of Govt’s MSME-centric schemes such as Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro & Small Enterprises (CGTSME), Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Credit Linked Capital Subsidy for Technology Upgradation (CLCSS), Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness for MSMEs & financial support to MSMEs in ZED Certification Scheme, urged the SC/ST & MSME players to keep themselves abreast with the latest information, skillsets & know-how to remain competitive, both in domestic & global marketplaces.

The event saw the presence of many SC/ST entrepreneurs, government officials and regulatory authorities who brainstormed on enhancing the segment’s financial inclusion, removing bottlenecks and creating avenues for a conducive business environment for the segment.

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