The Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) has chosen the current fiscal year as the `Year of Technology for SSIs (small scale industries).
Technical upgradation of small units will be one of Sidbis thrust areas. The task before the bank is to identify sectors with obsolete technology and take them up for improvement. Twenty such sectors have already been identified by the bank. These include, engineering, leather, the agro-food industry and the scientific instrument sector among others.
Sidbi managing director Shailendra Narain said, We have been doing this right since our inception because we realised that in the post liberalisation era, modernisation of the manufacturing process and improvement in production techniques is the sine qua non for survival. Therefore, the banks initiatives are aimed at upgrading SSI products and their process technology, quality improvement and management. This also includes environment management and innovations and indigenisation of technology.
The bank plans to enlist the services of consultancy firms which would assess the technical upgradation needs of the sectors and prepare unit-specific modernisation packages for existing units and assist in the funding.
Sidbi is also supporting skill cum technology upgradation programmes. So far 338 such programmes have been conducted covering benefiting over 8000 participants. Some of the other programmes undertaken by the bank include:
Assisting of units as model in their cluster;
Demonstrating the importance of improvement in technology;
Enhancement in production and quality control;
Introduction of the concept of `Total Quality Management to enable units bag the ISO 9000 certificate.
Import and export of technology.
Sidbi is also assisting industrial units in pollution control. The bank had created a Technology Development & Modernisation Fund with an initial corpus of Rs 200 crore. This is provided by the bank at a concessional rate for meeting resource requirements for purchase of capital equipment, acquisition of know how, upgrdation of manufacturing process and improvement in packaging and quality, cost of TQM and acquisition of ISO 9000.
The scheme is also being extended to non exporting units are other agencies like banks and financial institutions are been enlisted for this purpose. The promoters contribution in these is as low as 20 per cent. Till now, Rs 85 crore has been spent on about 150 units.
Sidbi has aligned with the CSIR and the NDRC, the store houses of indigenous technology, and the bank itself has set up a `Technology Bureau for small enterprises in collaboration with ESCAP.
It is involved in match-making for technology buyers and sellers. It has received 2,500 inquiries so far and has helped 33 small enterprises in identifying indigenous technology, besides its usual role of technology facilitator.
Some of the major agreements are for import of technology for coated abrasives with South Korea, high-precision plastic moulded products with UK, mineral water with Australia, PET bottle manufacturing know-how and plant from Taiwan,essential oil plant on trunkey basis with Tanzania, fluorescent whitening agents-CBS-with China and salted onions with Australia.
The deals in the pipeline include technology transfer from Germany for barium carbonate; technology transfer from China for itaconic acid, from Spain for gear box and transmission system, from Taiwan for wood working and finishing and incense sticks; from France for implant surgical know-how; from Slovenia for collapsible structural system, from Italy for low cost refractories, technology export to China for disinfectant spraying system and to Pakistan in the fields of precipitated silica and glass reinforced gypsum composites.
A number of units have managed to bring down the level of pollution through installation of control devices.