The Centre has given approval to a first time scheme for promotion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) sector, through identification of 100 existing clusters across the country.
The ICT intervention in identified clusters is aimed at removing barriers faced by entrepreneurs, enhancing competitiveness, improve product quality, better market accessibility and boost exports of MSMEs.
"The main objective is to motivate entrepreneurs to adopt IT tools and applications to improve their production, business processes and competitiveness in domestic and global markets. Nearly, 5000 entrepreneurs are likely to be benefitted," said Dinesh Rai, secretary, ministry of MSME.
The ministry has initially identified 40 potential product-specific clusters for ICT interventions. Each cluster — right from pharmaceutical one at Indore to machine tools manufacturing at Bangalore, from auto parts cluster at Faridabad to jewellery one at Howrah — shall manufacture specialised products catering to domestic and global demands and quality.
The scheme will facilitate in extending ICT infrastructural support to MSMEs and promote its adoption in entire chain of business, standardisation of business processes and creation of knowledge networks amidst clusters across the country to facilitate forward and backward linkages. The total budget under the scheme is Rs 105 crore.
"If implemented effectively, the concept will definitely help MSMEs in enhancing their productivity and market accessibility. An engineering cluster should be created in Bhopal too," said Shalabh Sharma, vice president, Federation of MP Chambers of Commerce & Industry.
A national portal will be set up having linkages with all the clusters to provide e-commerce facilities to entrepreneurs across the country. "Common IT facilities will be provided to all members of a cluster by conducting diagnostic mapping. We’ll act as a bridge between SMEs and IT companies," said Madhav Lal, MSME Development Commissioner.