Special Correspondent

  • Law soon on limited liability partnerships
  • Entrepreneurship training scheme in IT

    NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday announced a package for promotion of micro and small enterprises that called for a comprehensive study to assess the needs and scope of government intervention required for enhancing the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises in the service/business sector.

    Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Minister for Small Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries Mahavir Prasad said, the package fulfilled the requirement in the National Common Minimum Programme for promoting economic growth that was employment-oriented.

    Technological mission

    The Government would soon enact a law on limited liability partnerships covering among others, micro, small and medium enterprises to facilitate infusion of equity and venture capital funding in these enterprises. A technological mission would be established to assist small and medium enterprises in technology development, energy conservation and pollution mitigation.

    Mr. Prasad said that 50,000 entrepreneurs would be trained in information technology, catering, agro and food processing, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology through specialised courses. A new scheme would be formulated to provide financial assistance to select management/business schools and technical institutes to conduct tailor-made courses. Five select universities/colleges would be financed to run 1,200 entrepreneurial clubs.

    Under the package, the existing guidelines of the Small Industries Cluster Development Programme--renamed Micro and Small Enterprises Cluster Development, would be reviewed to accelerate holistic development of clusters. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) would scale up and strengthen its credit operations for micro enterprises and cover 50 lakh additional beneficiaries over five years beginning 2006-07.

    The Government would provide grant to the SIDBI to enable it to create a Risk Capital Fund, as a pilot scheme, in 2006-07 to provide demand-based loans to micro enterprises.

    The SIDBI's direct lending operations would be expanded by increasing the number of branches from 56 to 100 in two years beginning 2006-07. The eligible loan limit under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme would be raised to Rs.50 lakh.

    The credit guarantee cover would be raised from 75 per cent to 80 per cent for micro enterprises for loans upto Rs.5 lakh. The Government would examine the feasibility of increasing the General Excise Exemption limit, he said.

    The Minister said that four training-cum-product development centres for agro and food processing industries would be set up at identified existing Small Industries Service Institutes. The Central Footwear Training Institute at Chennai and Agra would be further strengthened.

    Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln Technology would be promoted for adoption by small and micro enterprises engaged in manufacturing bricks to make them energy efficient and eco-friendly. For this one time capital subsidy, limited to 30 per cent of the cost or Rs 2 lakh, whichever is less would be provided.

    Under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme, 80 per cent guarantee cover would be provided to micro and small enterprises operated or owned by women.