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AK Sharma, Secretary MSME Ministry Urged for More Vigilance and Agility to Support MSMEs Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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When the entire industry and economy is on a combat mode, Mr. AK Sharma joins the MSME Ministry as the secretary. Immediately after resuming charge of the duty, Mr. Sharma gave a message to all MSME stakeholders through a video message and expressed his priorities and vision for the MSME segment.

He started his message by asserting the importance of India’s MSME demography and potential. “I am excited in taking charge of the MSME Ministry as the secretary. Over 6 Crore MSMEs are operating across India and if we try to calculate the number of people associated in this entire MSME ecosystem the number will be a huge figure. In a very estimated assumption over 30 Crore households are connected through MSME ecosystem. Most of these people are very ordinary social profile. Their financial background is also very normal.”

MSME Ministry In COVID-19 Crisis

Commenting on the present day scenario, Mr. Sharma added, “The present challenge is huge, In fact, COVID-19 challenge which the entire world is facing is one of the most disrupting aspect for the world’s socio-economic landscape. Indian MSMEs re also under the effect of this pandemic and my immediate priority is to save the backbone of Indian economy which are MSMEs. And as a priority, my duty, along with entire MSME ministry, is to make sure that MSMEs manage to survive and sail through this tough time.”

However, he also urged the stakeholders of the MSME sector to consider the crisis as an opportunity.

Mr Sharma also informed the ministry officials a brief recent background and experience of himself in being part of COVID-19 management Group 3 for procuring PPE kits and Masks etc.  “When I joined that group it was getting considered very difficult task to manufacture these essential health care items which are needed in COVID-19  fight. Now within a few weeks we are manufacturing over one lakh PPE Kits every day and this itself is a major achievement.” 

Mr Sharma also highlighted his vision for MSME Ministry and he said that his vision is to create large companies and large brands from MSMEs. He said, “It is not just my vision but its my passion to make sure that we create large and global brands on the lines of Apple, Microsoft, Google etc. my vision is to make these brands from the vast Indian MSME sector. The reason why I visualise this kind of vision as passion because it is possible to think big and chase big even if you are small-sized business. As a matter of fact, every big corporate or a big global brand started as small.”

Making MSMEs Sail through COVID-19

He further asserted the importance of success corporates and MSMEs in making a robust economy. And he also emphasised the need of putting extra effort in the times of COVID-19 by saying, “The present time is tough and we cannot relax or sit back at this time. We have to work hard and stay alert and obviously we have to put extra efforts in order to make the MSME sector sail through this tough time. So, from right now, we are on agile mode and cannot ignore any single opportunity to save jobs and save the MSME sector. Making successful MSME ecosystem is a two-pronged job. At one level we have to ensure proper outreach at large corporates so that they can work with MSMEs and on the other hand we have developed and nurture quality output among MSMEs.”

As a core part of his message, Mr. Sharma appealed and stressed importance upon his colleagues and fellow officers of Ministry of MSME to be vigilant on hourly basis and work hard to see that the businesses, their owners, their vendors and workers are able to sail through this unprecedented COVID resultant economic crisis.  He clearly gave a message that the MSME Ministry has to work on a war footing in the coming days with this purpose. 

Mr. Sharma, 1988 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, took over the charge of Secretary after superannuation of Mr. Arun Kumar Panda (IAS:1984:Odisha).  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Sharma was serving as Additional Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office.

Mr. Sharma has worked in the Government of Gujarat for long at various positions including field and policy level and as Secretary to the Chief Minister of Gujarat.  He has extensive experience in grass root regulatory and developmental administration. He was recognized with the best District Development Officer when he worked in Vadodara District.   He was known for his contribution in industrialisation of Gujarat as Managing Director of Industrial Extension Bureau and as a pioneer of the Vibrant Gujarat experiment.  His experience in infrastructure is equally noteworthy since he held the position of CEO of Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) for a long time. During these years, GIDB was acclaimed as the most admired infrastructure agency of the country.   His contribution in setting up the Gujarat section of dedicated freight corridor and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor as well as Dholera special investment region is also highly talked about.  He created on-line administrative processes which are internationally acclaimed.  His experience of more than a decade in industry and infrastructure sectors would particularly bring lot of value in his present assignment of rejuvenating and championing the MSME Sector. 

Faiz Askari

Faiz is a mediapreneur specialised in Small Business and Technology domain.

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