Scores of units manufacturing electrical gadgets receive little help from government.
Conservation of electricity is a pet project of the State government, but the power centres have done little to help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, which has scores of units manufacturing electrical gadgets.
Helping these units adopt appropriate technology and providing buyback support to energy efficient products would have been an ideal strategy to propagate the message of energy conservation. Instead, the government has turned its back on even those enterprises that prefer to migrate to the power saving platform, according to entrepreneurs.
T.S. Ramakrishnan, who heads a unit manufacturing ceiling fans, tube lights and other gadgets, is dejected with the government's response. “About 60,000 to one lakh electrical fans are bought by the Public Works Department every year. The small scale sector is capable of meeting the requirement, but the government chooses to ignore it.” The PWD officials rejected the company’s offer even when it was below the rate quoted by multinational companies (MNCs), he said. Even after he produced energy saving capability certification from Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the officials refused to accept it, he said.
It was a violation of the established procedure which insists on procuring 20 per cent of the products in value terms from MSME sector as per the order of Office of Development Commissioner, MSME. The order is applicable to State governments as well. The last order dated March 23, 2012, states that “for facilitating promotion and development of micro and small enterprises, the Central government or the State government, as the case may be, by Order notify from time to time, preference policies in respect of procurement of goods and services, produced and provided by micro and small enterprises, by its Ministries or Departments, as the case may be, or its aided institutions and public sector enterprises.”
He also alleged that though the PWD procured materials from some of the MSME members, the total procurement fell short of the mandatory requirement.
Interestingly, the MSME unit supplies parts to MNCs engaged in the ceiling fan business. In fact, most MNCs adopt a similar procedure whereby they source MSME products complying with their quality standards.
K.S.Gopalakrishnan, who heads another MSME engaged in the manufacture of transformers, said the company complied with ISO standards, but had not adopted BEE standards as the government provided no incentives. “If one has to comply with the BEE regime, it would involve upgrading of machinery and use of quality material, leading to higher costs”, he said.
K.C. Ramachandran Nair, president of Kerala State Small Industries Association (KSSIA) also agreed that the government did not support MSME’s power saving initiatives.