There is good news for the MSME sector in Uttarakhand. The State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest bank, will open an MSME branch at the Selaqui industrial area, near here.
Besides, a financial institution hub is also on the cards, with the Uttarakhand government stating that it can be set up at the Sahastradhara Information Technology Park, where the Reserve Bank of India, Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) and other public sector banks (PSBs) can open their regional offices.
This became possible after the Industries Association of Uttarakhand (IAU), an MSME lobby group in the hill state, discussed at length the problems being faced by small and micro industries in the hill state with the secretary in charge of financial services in the Union finance ministry, D K Mittal, recently. There are nearly 40,000 MSMEs in Uttarakhand, most of them micro-level enterprises.
The main objective of the SME bank branch will be to provide factoring services for the sector, which faces difficulties in accessing credit, for various reasons. SBI has also agreed to examine whether the services of existing organisations, such as SBI Global Factors and Canbank Factors, can be made available at the SME branch.
“The fact that SBI has agreed to open branches in industrial areas like Selaqui in Uttarakhand is good news,” said Pankaj Gupta, president of the IAU.
SBI, along with Sidbi, has also agreed to set up dedicated portals for SME units, which will be used for filing loan applications.
In a meeting, SIDBI also expressed its willingness to undertake a quick re-appraisal of potentially viable sick SMEs and forward the recommendations of the IAU to banks for further action.
It was also agreed in the meeting to set up a marketing intelligence cell at the office of the IAU. In this regard, Sidbi said it would consider support for the cell as a developmental activity, provided such a cell becomes sustainable in the long term and its services are priced on a commercial basis. “Under the new policy guidelines, the government has to procure 20 per cent of annual purchases of goods from MSMEs only. So the new cell will help small units in procurement by the government,” said Gupta.
After prolonged deliberations, the centre has notified the new procurement policy for micro and small enterprises (MSEs), which requires the Central government and all PSUs will to procure a minimum of 20 per cent of their annual purchases (by value) of goods and services from them. The policy came into effect on April 1 this year.
“The policy makes it mandatory for all Central government departments and PSUs to achieve an annual target of sourcing at least 20 per cent by value of their total annual procurement of goods and services from MSEs within three years. One-fifth of this target is to be procured from enterprises owned by SC/STs,” Gupta said.
A Krishnakumar, managing director of SBI, who was also present in the meeting, explained that training officers in risk management was necessary and that the lead bank could organise workshops in select clusters.