National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), a public sector undertaking under the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) was recently awarded Mini Ratna. The NSIC, with a current business turnover of over Rs 7,000 crore, provides a host of services to small entrepreneurs. Its chairman-cum-managing director HP Kumar spoke to Debobrat Ghose on various issues. Excerpts:
How will the NSIC benefit after receiving Mini Ratna status?
A Mini Ratna adds to the status of the company vis-à-vis its stakeholders. It will
provide more autonomy and more decision-making power to us. As a result, NSIC's
performance will improve automatically. It will also help the entrepreneurs to get faster and better service.
What are NSIC's achievements?
The Mini Ratna is awarded under a benchmark of performances. Despite being only in the service sector and unlike other PSUs, which are into manufacturing, we've been successful in fulfilling both physical and financial parameters set by the government to get a Mini Ratna status. All our branches, 127, across the country are profit-making centres.
Could you elaborate the services provided by the NSIC?
NSIC acts as a facilitator to promote small industries through various user-friendly and demand-driven schemes. We supply raw materials such as coal, steel, copper, zinc, plastic, among others, at ex-factory price. Our raw material assistance scheme aims at helping small entrepreneurs by way of financing the purchase of raw materials.
Having tie-up with commercial banks, we provide credit support to them in the form of equipment financing, procuring raw materials and marketing activities. Technology support is provided to enhance a company's competitive advantage through technical services centres. Through consortia and tender marketing, we help small entrepreneurs in procuring and executing large orders, and sort out marketing problems. We organise buyers-sellers meets to provide a marketing platform to their products.
Any challenges you face?
Since NSIC is only in service sector, sustainability and keeping its profitability is a big challenge. We face competition from within the country as well as abroad. There is competition against cheap foreign goods. We help MSMEs to maintain good quality and scaling up operations, so that operation costs come down.
What are your future plans?
To bring out new innovative schemes, which will help MSMEs in their capacity building and incubation programme, in order to create more self-employment for the youth. We want to send this message across the country that "Opening a small industry with a small investment is another option".