Guwahati, Oct. 5: Small and medium enterprise is the best way ahead for the Northeast as the wait for big industries could turn out to be a long one, speakers said on the concluding day of the NICT here today.
"If you want large industries to come into the region, you will have to wait. The best option is to encourage small and medium enterprises," Anuj Paliwal, managing director of Third Eye Education, said at a session on "SMEs ' the road ahead for Northeast".
Senior officials from private sector companies of the region were unanimous that there is no option other than to encourage small and medium enterprises in the region.
This sector is the second largest contributor to the GDP, constitutes 45 per cent of India's manufacturing sector, employs 60 million people and has a huge product range.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), with Konrad Adenauer Foundation, is undertaking a study on SME development in the Northeast to identify the issues faced by the sector in the region and make recommendations on its development in the region.
Some of the key challenges in the Northeast are inadequate infrastructure, lack of awareness about market opportunities, limited scope for market linkage and security risk perception about the region, which makes it difficult to attract private sector.
Gopi Krishna More, managing director Torsa Machine Ltd, said the region has a good product mix, availability of cheap quick credit and economic climate. What is required is a strong will for industrial development.
K.T. Prasad Rao, assistant general manager, SIDBI, Guwahati, highlighted the bank's schemes for the benefit of entrepreneurs.
In the session, "Education for all ' Inclusive growth, inclusive employment", N.N. Sarma, director, Assam Institute of Management, said economic growth could not be sustained without inclusive growth. "The region still has far fewer institutions compared to the rest of the country, which is why there has been large-scale exodus of students from the Northeast to other parts of India. So, it is imperative to have more institutions offering quality education in the region," he said.
Dwelling on the imperatives for inclusive growth, Sarma said agriculture, rural development and productivity growth were vital for providing food security and keeping inflation and manufacturing prices in check. He stressed on enhancement of per capita expenditure amongst rural and urban poor to generate demand for goods and services, and supply of skilled manpower for the corporate sector.