Thiruvananthapuram: The LDF’s Industrial Policy, the draft of which is being discussed across the state, will have more schemes and provisions for the growth of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. Majority of MSMEs who participated in a random beneficiary survey conducted by the state said that they were not aided by the Single Window mechanism for obtaining necessary clearances.
It was also revealed that the state government had not provided any financial support though 48 percent of the units surveyed faced financial crisis at one time or the other. Essentially, the random survey exposed the insensitive attitude of the state to MSMEs. Technical assistance was not provided to more than half the units, training in skill development was not provided for nearly 70 percent of them, and for 80 percent there was no marketing support either. The infrastructure provided to MSMEs like built-up space, power, roads and security is also considered inadequate. SIDCO had gone on record saying that it was not in a position to improve infrastructure as it was not supplied adequate funds.
“The existing industrial policy contained only general objectives, just pious wishes, for promotion and development of MSMEs. This time specific schemes will be included in the policy,” a top Industries Department official said. Fact is, many of the components of the existing policy were not implemented, even for the sake of it. Take for instance, the promise to use funds devolved to local bodies to promote MSMEs, or the transfer of unused land with local bodies to MSMEs. The utter failure of Kerala Financial Corporation, the only agency providing finance to MSMEs, was a constant refrain of entrepreneurs when they met with industries minister A C Moideen during the district-level talks on the draft policy.
“KFC and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Limited (KSIDC) could provide finance to a very low number of MSMEs only,” the official conceded. Significantly, the rate of interest charged by KFC on loans to MSME sector was high when compared to other state financial corporations and commercial banks....