Take the tech route and upskill youth, Nirmala Sitharaman tells MSMEs

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday urged the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector to embrace technology and work towards upskilling the youth so as to make them employable.

Sitharaman was addressing a convention organised by the Maharashtra unit of Laghu Udyog Bharat, an RSS-affiliated consortium of MSMEs, in Mumbai.

“MSME is the backbone of the Indian economy. Out of all approvals given under the production-linked intensive scheme for telecom and networking products, 50 per cent of them have been from MSME. Currently there are 8,366 MSME-registered toy manufacturers in India who are growing as the import of toys has been reduced significantly with measures such as strict quality check and increased import duty among all,” she said, while talking about several schemes started by the central government aimed at strengthening the MSME sector.

Sitharaman said that the MSME sector should not shy away from digitalisation, artificial intelligence and data analysis.

“Bring in technology, not to replace the existing manpower but also to enhance the efficiency of business. Big data analysis, artificial intelligence, digitalisation are all going to be favourable in growth,” the minister said.

While urging Laghu Udyog Bharati to open training centres to create skilled manpower to run their businesses, Sitharaman said, “In some other states MSMEs have taken such steps as the government has been supportive of it with recognition to training centres. These centres will be employment driven, an opportunity for the MSMEs to train youngsters in skills required by them,” she said.

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The Maharashtra unit of Laghu Udyog Bharati also launched a handbook of knowledge required for MSMEs on the occasion.