Bengaluru: Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh on Thursday said small-scale industries are backbone of India’s economy and added that India will soon become Aatmanirbhar and a global manufacturing hub with active industry participation.
“Small industries are the motor of the Indian economy. The faster the motor runs, the quicker the vehicle of the economy moves,” he said, also crediting the small industries for maintaining stability in the economy.
Rajnath highlighted the important contribution of these industries to the socio-economic development of the country. He spoke at the inauguration of three-day India Manufacturing Show here.
The show is being jointly organised by Laghu Udhyog Bharti and IMS Foundation and supported by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence. The central theme of the event is ‘Make in India, Make for the World.’
Rajnath said: “Compared to investment made, small industries create more employment opportunities than large industries. They also ensure a more even dispersion of wealth in society. Many MSMEs are doing well in exports and are becoming a part of the global supply chain of the world’s biggest companies. Heavy industries, too, play a big role in the nation’s development, but the country cannot fully progress by ignoring small industries.”
Raksha Mantri also remembered the time when India was called ‘golden bird’ and a big reason was that there were many small industries in villages and towns, which provided employment to the people.
“In ancient times, there were no large-scale industries in India; they were only small industries. Textile, iron and shipbuilding were the three industries for which India was known all over the world. They showcased our industrial capability,” he said.
Rajnath also underlined the ability of small industries to adapt to the changes more easily than large industries. “It is the adaptability of small industries which increases the possibilities of innovation. Many times, small industries bring more innovation than large industries in terms of new products, services and business models,” he said.
Raksha Mantri recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy on economy, wherein he encouraged to focus on small industries rather than heavy industries. This is due to stronger connections of small industries with local communities. Even though their production scale is small, they are better tuned to local needs, he said.
Rajnath added that big industries, which have a turnover of thousands of crores, were once small industries, which reflects their importance.
He termed the small-scale industries as the youth of industrial development; which possesses more energy, innovation and the ability to create something new. He emphasised that drawing focus towards small industries does not mean undermining the importance of heavy industries.
He termed the relationship between the two as symbiotic, with both depending on each other for their profitability.
Referring to the opinion of a section of people who believe that private industries operate on selfish motives, Raksha Mantri said, “There is a need to understand the concept of economy; the fine line between selfish motive and profit motive. The profits of private industries reach crores of families in India, due to which the economy of this country is running. If private industries do not work on a profit motive, they will not be able to contribute to the economy. ‘Profit is not selfish, Profit is legitimate benefit.”
Rajnath voiced the importance the government attaches to the small-scale industries and listed out a number of decisions taken to ensure their welfare. These include MUDRA scheme, launched in 2015, under which a provision was made to provide collateral-free loans to MSMEs. The government also provided additional credit worth crores of rupees for MSMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raksha Mantri also enumerated the unprecedented steps taken for MSMEs in the defence sector.
“We are the first government which imposed restrictions on itself for the import of weapons. We released five positive indigenisation lists, under which 509 equipment have been identified, the manufacturing of which will now take place in India.
“In addition, four positive indigenisation lists for Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) were also promulgated, under which 4,666 items were identified, that will be manufactured within the country.
“To ensure adequate demand assurance for our domestic industries, we reserved 75% of the defence capital acquisition budget, which amounts to approximately Rs one lakh crore, for purchases from local companies. These steps will strengthen our MSMEs and make them Aatmanirbhar,” he said.
Rajnath also referred to the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative, which was launched to invite new ideas in defence manufacturing through start-ups and innovators.
He added that iDEX Prime was launched to support projects, requiring support beyond Rs 1.5 crore up to Rs 10 crore, to help the start-ups in the defence sector.
Raksha Mantri termed Laghu Udyog Bharti as a bridge between the government and the industry.
“As an institution, Laghu Udyog Bharti should make the government aware of the problems of small industries. We will find solutions as soon as possible. It has another important role. The government and society have some expectations from industries.
“As an industry association, it should work in line with those expectations. As much responsibility as the industry has towards its balance sheet and profit and loss statements, it also has the same responsibility towards the nation.
“You should ensure that you provide top-quality and cost-effective products. You should take care of the interests of all the stakeholders. Keeping the environment in mind, the use of clean technologies must be promoted,” he said.
Rajnath appreciated the fact that small industries of the country are progressing well through Laghu Udyog Bharti. He exuded confidence that India will become self-reliant and a global manufacturing hub in the times to come, if the industries continue to move forward with hard work and dedication.