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Fostering entrepreneurial ecosystem crucial for MSME Sector in North-Eastern Region, says Experts

On the 10th of January 2022, North Eastern Regional Centre of National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDP-NERC) hosted a webinar on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Sector in North East India: Issues, Challenges and Way forward in the eve of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.


The seminar was hosted by the Director of NIRDPR-NERC Prof. Murugesan Ramasay and moderated by Associate Professor Dr. Jayanta Chaudhury. The Chief Guest for this event was Prof. Ganga Prasad Prasain, Vice Chancellor of Tripura University while Dr. Sandeep Marwah, National Chairman M& E BIS (GOI) served as the Guest of Honour. The panel consisted of various stakeholders possessing high experience and knowledge in different facets of the MSME sector. The seminar received an overwhelming response with over 400 registrations across from Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Finland, Nigeria, Ghana and different states of India.


NIRDPR-NERC-MSME-1The talks were underway with Prof. Prasain, who stressed on the importance of the MSME sector in the development of the NER and urged the implementation of the same based on the requirements and the demography of the states. He stressed on the factor of rising unemployment and entrusted the MSME sector as the primary deterrent for the same.The occasion was enlightened by the words of Dr. Marwah, who emphasised on the values of ‘Atmanirbharta,’ whilst referring to its true meaning as being fuelled by ambition and the drive to succeed.


The panel discussions began with Dr. Jayanta Choudhuryputting forward the agenda of the discussion to the panel. He introduced the sub-themes of the topic in hand and provided an analysis of the following pointers: 1) Credit system, 2) Infrastructure, 3) Supply chain and Value Chain, 4) Act east Policy and the 5) Private-Public Partnership (PPP). This was followed by the first panellistwith Dr.Sukumal Deb, the Dy. Chief Executive Officer in the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVI) of the Northeast Zone,who spoke about the huge potential of the NER due to its geostrategic location. He stressed on the importance of dynamic entrepreneurship, elimination of information deficit and the promotion of reverse migration.


NIRDPR-NERC-MSMEDr. Samir Baruah, serving as the Chairperson to the NE-MSME and Banking committee, Indian Chamber of Commerce spoke on the issues and challenges faced by the MSME’s in accessing finance and the importance of the credit institutions in the efficient functioning of this sector.


The third speaker, Dr Sriparna B. Baruah,the Head in the Centre for Industrial Extension and consultancy, IIE, Guwahatielucidated the pivotal role of Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) in the promotion of micro enterprises, with the provisions of training, enrolling, mentoring, and counselling to bridge the urban and rural gap. The discussion was further taken forward by the CEO of speaking mind inc., Manu Seth who shed light on the importance of ground realities in the process of planning and implementation and onthe upscaling of the reach of locally produced commodities.


The next panellist was Dr. M Srikanth, Associate Professor and Director of Finance, DDU-GKY, NIRDPR, Hyderabadprovided an overview of the MSME sector and put forth various recommendations to tackle the existing bottlenecks. He further highlighted the lack of articulation of ideas in the market and the technological backwardness of the NER.


Moving on, Rabha who serves as the Assistant Director to the Indian Enterprises Development Service of MSME-DI, Guwahatispoke about the lack of adequate infrastructure and the overconcentration of MSME’s in the agro based sector. He highlighted the importance of the registration process and encouraged people to partake in the same, to avail the benefits of the subsidies and government schemes.


The Co-Chair to the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Northeast sub-committee on MSME and Banking, Dr. Pranjal Phukan introduced the discussion to the factors of market scaling and fund management. He spoke of the MSME clusters of Hydrogen fuel cells in Tinsukia and its capability to strengthen defence capabilities.


The next speaker, Amit Kumar, the Director to Aroma India pvt. Ltd. talked about the proper intervention of stakeholders and the constant need to update technology and quality to remain competitive. The penultimate speaker was the Assistant Professor in ICFAI University, Tripura, Dr. Dilip Nath. He stressed on the relevance of capacity building and technical assistance in the MSME sector.


The final speaker of the event was CA Ashish Kumar Bajaj, chairperson to the Taxation and Finance Committee, provided a different narrative on the functioning of the MSME’s. He stressed on the need to accommodate the growth of Small and micro enterprises, that constitute the bulk of the MSME’s in the NER. He made a call for action to facilitate an enabling environment for the increase in job creators rather than job seekers. 


Essentially, this webinar looked at the various issues facing the MSME sector in the NER and proceeded to provide a rubric for the way ahead. The pivotal point of inference was the inconsistency in the financial institutions and its ability to handicap the process at its entirety. This was followed through with crucial observations ranging from the creation of an ecosystem that enables inclusive entrepreneurship, promotion of clusters, bringing MSMEs to the mainstream, stakeholder intervention and a robust implementation procedure.

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