AK Sharma To Lead MSME Ministry as Secretary
Considering the fact that Indian MSME sector require a huge push for revival and a proactive approach towards implementation of pro-MSME policies for Post COVID-19 phase, the government has announced major reshuffle in the ministry. 1988 batch Gujrata Cadre, IAS Mr. AK Sharma has been appointed as Secretary of MSME.
Sharma was earlier serving as an additional secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He has been with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since October 2001 when he took over as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Modi government has been giving importance to the MSME sector keeping in view the employment opportunities it generates and in order to promote Make in India initiative.
The Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME) Nitin Gadkari and PM Modi himself have been taking note of the crisis being faced by the MSME Sector which is burdened with the problems like cash crush, inability to pay employees during lockdown, no production etc.
The sector currently employs about 11 crore people, a figure which is worrisome now as unemployment, job cuts, reverse migration will be on its peak post lockdown.
Thr MSME associations from across the country have been continuously writing to government for a relief packages and it is getting considered that Mr. Sharma will have priority to ensure relief packages for MSMEs.
The move taken by the government to appoint Sharma as MSME Secretary after his long tenure at PMO surely shows that the government is leaving no stone unturned to take the sector out of crisis.
The 1988 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer moved into the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Gujarat in 2001 when Narendra Modi helmed the state. Sharma has since served with Modi for continuous 18 years—through Modi’s three stints as chief minister and his first term as prime minister. As secretary-MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises), he will handle a key area that the prime minister wants to focus on to make India self-reliant. His appointment was one of 22 key bureaucratic changes made across several major departments–the Modi government’s biggest such reshuffle after it began its second innings on May 23, 2019.
In the past 18 years, Sharma has not been with Modi only once–a decade ago when he went on study leave to Australia. Sharma, who as additional secretary in the PMO was in charge of infrastructure, was promoted as full secretary early this month. And now, he has been given a department that Modi wants to reinvigorate under the Make in India campaign. MSMEs are critical to Modi’s plans for India’s economic revival in the post-lockdown scenario. The department is under Union minister Nitin Gadkari. MSMEs, which employ 120 million Indians, account for 33.4 per cent of India’s manufacturing output and 45 per cent of overall exports, are in the doldrums following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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