Government of India plans SME helpline

  • SMEs should adopt new tools of business.
  • ICT adoption is becoming compulsion for SMEs in order to sustain and grow.
  • Online B2B marketplace is an opportunity for small businesses.

ict-09-01New Delhi, 14 July 2009: The government of India plans to launch a toll-free helpline for small and medium businesses, which would offer assistance on issues like taxation, finance, laws, marketing and other relevant topics. This was disclosed by Mr Dinesh Rai, Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Government of India, at a conference on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IndiaMART.com, India’s largest online B2B marketplace here on July 10.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to SMEs, Mr Rai said, “The toll-free helpline is part of our resolve to assist SMEs in day-to-day operations, finance, marketing, legal, banking and taxation domains.” Rai also underlined a plan to run a National Skill and Development Centre (NSDC) to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.

The conference was attended by 500 well known entrepreneurs and professionals from various industries. Distinguised personalities like Mr. Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of IndiaMART.com, Mr. Dinesh Rai, Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Government of India, Mr. Rajiv Sodhi, Director, Emerging Geographies, Microsoft India, Mr. Gurmukh Singh, Head Business Marketing, Intel South Asia, Mr. Harish Bahl, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Smile Interactive Technologies Group, were among those present.

ict-09-03Highlighting the plight of SMEs, Founder and CEO of IndiaMART.com, Mr.Dinesh Agarwal appealed to the government to minimize redtapism, encourage single-window clearance mechanisms, rationalize tax regimes and adopt a proactive strategy aimed at education and evangelism for SMEs. He also lamented the issue of technology providers trying to push highly-priced products and solutions to SMEs, which are beyond their budgets. “If SMEs are not provided with timely help, we will run the risk of a fall in exports and a resultant fall in GDP,” said Mr. Agarwal.

Painting a bullish picture about India’s future, Mr. Gurmukh Singh, Head, Business Marketing, Intel, South Asia, exhorted the SME sector to be ready when exponential growth in India’s online universe throws up big possibilities. “By 2012, India will get 511 million internet users and small businesses should be ready for it. Intel is already offering solutions and assistance which SMEs can make use of even today,” Mr. Singh said. Mr. Ramraj Pai, Director, SME Ratings, CRISIL, seconded Singh and favoured SMEs embracing a credibility-driven approach which can differentiate their businesses.

ict-09-04Mr. Rajiv Sodhi, Director, Emerging Geographies, Microsoft India, educated the audience on the power of ICT for innovation and acceleration of business in time of recession. Speaking on the much-publicised ‘Project Vikas’, Sodhi reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to help SMEs, by offering tailor-made software solutions to aid in operations, maximising revenues and creating relationships with customers and partners.

Expressing his satisfaction, Mr. Shainesh Joshi, CEO, Joshi Electronics said, “This conference was very informative, now I am planning to do innovation on my obsolete methods of doing work.”

Mr. N. K. Goyal, President Communications & Manufacturing Association of India (CMAI) supported Mr. Dinesh Agarwal and said, “More conferences like this should be taken up throughout India to educate and uplift SMEs.”

About IAMAI
The Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is a not-for-profit industry body registered under the Societies Act, 1896. Its mandate is to expand, up gradation and enhance the online and mobile value added services sectors. It is dedicated to presenting a unified voice of the businesses it represents to the government, investors, consumers and other stakeholders. The association addresses the issues, concerns and challenges of the Internet and Mobile economy and takes a leading role in its development.