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Nitin Gadkari promises Alibaba-like e-market portal for MSMEs

According to him, the portal to be called 'Bharat Craft' will provide a direct interface between buyers and sellers and bring a turnover of about Rs 10 lakh crore to the MSME sector in the next 2-3 years

Nitin Gadkari promises Alibaba-like e-market portal for MSMEs

According to Gadkari, the MSME sector will employ 15 crore people in the next five years, up from 11 crore currently

Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari recently announced that the ministry plans to develop a marketing portal called 'Bharat Craft' for pushing its products. The e-market portal like China's Alibaba "will provide a direct interface between buyers and sellers" he said at an event organised by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai, adding that in the next 2-3 years, "this portal will bring a turnover of about Rs 10 lakh crore to the MSME sector".

His keynote address, titled "Roadmap for Growth of MSMEs", also highlighted that the MSME sector has a huge potential for generating income and employment, eradication of poverty, boosting exports and contributing to economic growth. The Modi government is looking at the over 63 million enterprises in this space as a major growth engine and employment generation source.

According to Gadkari, the MSME sector currently contributes 29 per cent to the country's GDP and the government intends to scale this up to 50  per cent in the next 5 years. "The sector gives employment to about 11 crore people currently, we will take this to 15 crore in the next five years, he added. In fact, the government aims to generate 50 lakh jobs through Khadi sector alone.

To achieve these goals, the government will need to create new channels for funding, make the sector investor friendly, bring in technological innovations, reduce logistics cost to make homegrown products competitive as well as provide adequate skilling and market support," Gadkari told The Economic Times. "However, there is an urgent need to think big and energise the sector with new and innovative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking," he added. The ministry is also looking at increasing exports by MSME, with an eye on import substitution.

Union Minister shared that meetings are being held with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and German state-owned development bank KfW for providing low-cost capital to Indian MSMEs and the government has received "positive" response. "We must also work with cooperative banks, NBFCs (non-banking finance corporations), credit cooperative societies, Sidbi (Small Industries Development Bank of India) and financial corporations of state governments," said Gadkari, who also holds the portfolio of road transport and highways ministry. According to him, the recent announcements like bank mergers, increasing liquidity of banks, transparent one-time settlement policy, online loan tracking, fast track collaboration for loans between PSBs, will benefit the MSME sector greatly.

At the Mumbai event, he also called upon stakeholders to suggest ways and means to cut down red-tapism and share ideas to develop the sector, explaining that the Ministry is working to set up a bank of ideas and innovations. "There is a lot of scope for diversification in the MSME sector," said Gadkari, pointing out that honey production, bamboo, bio-fuel production, fisheries, dairy, agarbatti making, hydroponics, water transport like Ro-Ro, Ro-Pax, e-transport and mechanised fishing trawlers can be new areas for such ventures.

Also read: 'Even I paid for speeding': Nitin Gadkari defends hefty traffic fines

Also read: Banks may be made answerable for denying loans to MSMEs, says Union Minister Sarangi

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