MSME sector, which is poised to create 1 crore jobs, in the next 4 – 5 years is undergoing various changes through diverse government schemes and initiatives. The demand-driven initiatives aimed at creating capacity in the MSME sector are positively impacting the MSME skill ecosystem. To get a glimpse of the MSME skill development programmes initiated by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), we caught up with Dr. Jatinder Singh, Director, PHDCCI. Here’s the Skill Story to tell you more about the current and future initiatives from the premier industry chamber in India.
Can you give us a brief on PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (PHDCCI) objectives?
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), New Delhi, was established in 1905 .It is a proactive National Apex Chamber working at the grass-root level with strong national and international linkages. We have our international office at Bahrain for 6 GCC countries, with 1,30,000 companies as its members base.
We act as a catalyst in the promotion of industry, trade and entrepreneurship. Our main objective is to positively impact the economic growth and development of the nation. The Chamber has been accredited with “Diamond Grade” by NABET (QCI) and, at national and international level, PHDCCI contributes significantly to socio-economic development and capacity building in several fields. We contribute on topical issues, provide advisory services to business, offer certification services and organise entrepreneurial development training programmes for the betterment of people.
How are you promoting entrepreneurship development programmes in MSME sector?
MSMEs contribute significantly to the manufacturing sector – the soul of our economy, in terms of entrepreneurship development. However, MSMEs face a lot of challenges. A major issue is the scarcity of funding sources. Lack of financial inclusion and financial literacy, geographical proximity, technological and market expertise, adequate infrastructure, high rates of interest of bank loans, high debt equity ratio, are some of the other issues.
To guide and mentor MSMEs, we have been implementing various awareness programmes. Cluster training is one programme which links entrepreneurs to markets and make them aware of industry needs. A major initiative of PHDCCI is the introduction of MSME Facilitation Centre specifically for MSMEs which allows people to develop their business in many ways.
Tell us about the major services offered by MSME Facilitation portal ?
As one of the four Apex chambers of the country, PHDCCI is a key driver of policies at the national and state level with a large membership base of MSMEs. PHD-MSME Facilitation Centre helps MSMEs to expand their businesses. The facilitation portal http://www.phdmsme.in/ provides information to MSMEs for accessing financial assistance under various schemes, facilitates them for raising fresh Capital and Credit and provides new project ideas and profiles for starting new business. It also facilitates MSMEs for participating in various national and international events, exhibitions, vendor development programs etc.
With technological disruption, the industry is transforming at a greater pace. Today’s market is highly competitive and skilling has become as important as ever. Entrepreneurs should have the ability to acquire new skills in order to tap diverse markets smartly. Also, they need to be aware of the benefits of various schemes and facilitation centres that can help them drive their business. Making use of the opportunities wisely will allow them to contribute more to the economy.
Most of the MSMEs focus mainly on traditional crafts or family businesses and sustain like that forever. What do you think are the ways in which their businesses can be scaled-up?
You are right, most of the MSMEs focus on traditional crafts where they continue with their family business. For the revival of MSMEs, we need to provide skill development training to them. Cluster training is one of the successful ways through which skill training can be done. Acquiring a new or specialized skill will enable the entrepreneurs to expand or diversify their business.
We have seen huge change in the cluster development trainings where entrepreneurs acquire skills and expand their business. Hand-holding with MSMEs will benefit them in their initial stages of development. With proper mentoring, they will be able to develop their business.
What has been the most impactful skill development initiative from PHDCCI?
As I have mentioned, we have seen transformation in entrepreneurs through the implementation of Cluster development schemes. Lack of expertise in legal and business formalities restrict people from developing their business even though they are interested in it. We completely focus on this aspect and train people in the basics of starting a business and availing financial schemes.
I would say that demand-driven training is very important. As industry changes with new technological development, there is a need to prepare a skilled workforce in the MSME sector. Entrepreneurs who lack access to technology and infrastructure are trained through various development and mentoring programmes. Demand-driven training is going to be the game-changer in this sector.
How would you convey the importance of skill training in students?
With the changes happening in the industry and labour market, there is a need for skilled people who can drive the economy. Our educational institutions should be modified in such a way giving importance to vocational education and skill training programmes that lead students to prospective employment opportunities. Industry-integrated curriculum is the need of the hour. With the right kind of skill, students who become dropouts or jobless can become job-creators rather than job-seekers.
Also, major focus should be given to digital skills. Students should be trained in digital skills so that they are prepared to face the automated age where new jobs are created. Also, we should not deny the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills for all students irrespective of their educational background. Be it any field of study, there should be provision for students to develop their STEM skills to keep them updated and relevant in the digital age.