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Entrepreneur Chandrakant Salunkhe urges Maharashtra to Establish a dedicated SME department

Mumbai: Noted Entrepreneur and President of the Maharashtra Industry Development Association and SME Chamber of India has asked for creating a dedicated department for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Maharashtra government.

Maharashtra is home to over 32 lakh SMEs operating in various sectors, such as manufacturing, services, and allied industries. These SMEs form the backbone of the state’s economy with their efforts and account for the lion’s share in job creation. Mr Salunkhe has been pressing for a separate department exclusively for SMEs to provide them with the support to facilitate their growth.

“The focus of the government seems to be on large enterprises. SMEs play a critical role in economic growth. Setting up a separate SME department would acknowledge the role of SMEs. It would ensure the implementation of dedicated schemes and policies to empower SMEs, address the challenges and grievances they face, improve the ease of doing business, ensure a level playing field, and help them become globally competitive. It will be a proactive step that will unleash the untapped potential of SMEs and further drive the state’s economic growth,” Mr Salunkhe said, adding that many other states have already set up separate ministries, secretariats and Commissionerate to support SMEs.

He has appealed to the Maharashtra chief minister, industries minister, chief secretary and principal secretary of industries to take immediate action to establish a dedicated SME department.

While the government of Maharashtra has made notable efforts to encourage entrepreneurs, there remains an evident disparity between the support provided and the challenges they face. Even basic amenities like infrastructure, roads, water supply, and electricity continue to elude many SMEs.

Despite the division initiated in the Ministry of Industries and Development Commissionerate of Industries, he believes a separate department is essential to provide focused attention and support for the growth and revival of SMEs.

A separate department with a dedicated secretary is vital to bridge this gap and effectively promote their growth. It will also lead to greater coordination with other ministries and departments to facilitate better quality services and infrastructure development and address issues related to skilled manpower shortage, water and power shortage in major industrial belts, etc.

Mr Salunkhe has a further request for the appointment of Joint CEOs within the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to expedite critical matters concerning the SME sector, allocate industrial land, revive dormant units, and attract more investments and foreign direct investment (FDI) to enhance industrial activities for the benefit of local SMEs in terms of supply chain and procurement.

He has also proposed the setting up of a cordial committee between police and office bearers of trade and industry bodies to establish harmonious relations between businesses, industries, retail establishments and commercial enterprises across the state. The committee would review and address issues related to law & order and ensure the prevention of harassment companies face. He believes that this will improve confidence in the system and foster an environment conducive to entrepreneurial success.

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