The Indian government will fully back the Indian SME sector in linking with the global value chains and thereby survive and thrive in an ecosystem of huge technological disruptions, said Mr Dammu Ravi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. He was speaking in the plenary session on “Redefining the global value chain: The challenges of integrating SMEs from developing world” at the CII Partnership Summit being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and the State Government of Andhra Pradesh in Visakhapatnam.
Mr Ravi said the disruptions through new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and industrial automation were hugely disruptive for Indian SMEs but was also a lived reality. “Instead of fighting the change, Indian SMEs need to gear up to face the challenge, be engaged and take measures to move up the global value chain.”
“The government was fully geared to support the SMEs through an assortment of policy measures,” the Joint Secretary said. He underlined the merchandise exports under the India Scheme (MEIS) and the Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) as cases in point. In addition, Mr Ravi pointed out that the government was also supporting the sector through facilitating the SMEs participating in trade fairs abroad and providing them credible and timely market intelligence.
He said that while the global supply chain had its downside in terms of only a fraction of the value generated accruing to the developing economies, there was an upside in terms of jobs and adoption of new technologies. The threat of loss of jobs due to increasing adoption of robotics means that the need for reskilling and high-skilling of the workforce was critical for them to move to the new jobs created that needed substantially higher skill sets. “Increasingly, Indians SMEs have to ensure that that they keep pace with raising the product quality and be sensitive to pricing,” Mr Ravi emphasised.
“The primary determinant of a good SME ecosystem was to build the required infrastructure and ensure high ease of doing business,” he said.
Mr Michael Yeoh, CEO & Director, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute, Malaysia, said the threat of workforce irrelevance in the SMEs due to disruption by technologies have to be addressed through “reskilling, adoption of lifelong learning and launching of eUniversities.”
He called upon India and the Asean countries to strengthen their partnerships in “knowledge sharing and exchange” to enable the SMEs to move up the global value chain.
Mr Rachid Fergati, Managing Director, UPS Indian Subcontinent, said that for SMEs to flourish, they have to “build strong competencies in technology, and be flexible in their response to the market and be extremely customer-focused.”
“The Indian government’s announcement of the allocation of Rs 3,079 crore, almost $600 million, to the Indian SME sector and the opening of a logistics division under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be game-changers” for the Indian industry,” Mr Fergati said.
Mr Sanjay Budhia, Chairman, CII National Committee on EXIM and Managing Director Patton International Limited, who moderated the session, said that the global value chains are so diverse and varied that it could be said that a considerable number of products today could be said to be “Made in the world”.
February 25, 2018