Bharat Craft to provide direct interface between buyers & sellers, turnover target of about Rs 10 lakh crore in next 2-3 years.
The government is working on an Alibaba-like e-marketplace for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which is expected to bring a turnover of around Rs 10 lakh crore over the next two to three years, Union MSME minister Nitin Gadkari said.
“We are developing an e-market portal like Alibaba. We will call it Bharat Craft. This will provide a direct interface between buyers and sellers. In the next 2-3 years this portal will bring a turnover of about .`10 lakh crore to the MSME sector,” Gadkari said via an email communication. The government is looking at the MSME sector for its huge potential to generate income and employment, boost exports and its contribution to economic growth.
Currently, MSMEs contribute around 29% to the country’s GDP. “We will take this to 50% in the next five years. The sector gives employment to about 11 crore people currently, we will take this to 15 crore in the next five years,” Gadkari said.
To achieve these goals, the government will need to create new channels for funding, make the sector investor friendly, bring in technological innovations, reduce logistics cost to make homegrown products competitive, provide adequate skilling and market support, Gadkari added. “However, there is an urgent need to think big and energise the sector with new and innovative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari said that multilateral banks like ADB, World Bank and KfW have agreed to provide low-cost funds for the sector. “We must also work with cooperative banks, NBFCs (non-banking finance corporations), credit cooperative societies, Sidbi (Small Industries Development Bank of India) and financial corporations of state governments,” said Gadkari, who also holds the portfolio of road transport and highways ministry.
Gadkari said that the recent announcements like bank mergers, increasing liquidity of banks, transparent one-time settlement policy, online loan tracking, fast track collaboration for loans between PSBs, will benefit the sector greatly. The ministry is also looking at increasing exports by MSME, with an eye on import substitution. “There is a lot of scope for diversification in the MSME sector,” Gadkari said.
Honey production, kulhad making, bamboo, bio-fuel production, fisheries, dairy, agarbatti (incense sticks) making, hydroponics, water transport like Ro-Ro, Ro-Pax, etransport, mechanised fishing trawlers, can be new areas for such ventures, Gadkari said. The government is also going to set up a Bank of Ideas and Innovations very soon, where stakeholders will be invited to give their ideas for the MSME sector and innovative technologies, Gadkari said.