Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said that COVID-19 has been extensively disruptive in terms of economic activity and loss of human lives across the globe. At the same time, this crisis has given us unique opportunities that can be used effectively and innovatively. “India used this opportunity to undertake bold and ambitious structural reforms and leveraged them to put the country on a high growth trajectory, a trajectory of inclusive growth which not only accounts for manufacturing and infrastructure development but also the improvement of the social sectors,” he added.
Addressing the webinar ‘Enabling MSME Growth through Financial Inclusion’, organized by FICCI-CMSME and Facebook, Mr Kant said that digital transformation will drive India’s manufacturing sector forward. “To remain competitive, investing in digital technologies is a must now. For digital transformation, a robust digital infrastructure, and a robust IT mechanism to prevent frauds and cyber-attacks are key enablers. Digital transformation will act as a catalyst for India’s development story going forward. Access to finance will be crucial to realize this transformation. In this context, the Small Business Loans Initiative launched by Facebook is a big step in this direction. E-commerce will be a major driving force for country’s growth in the coming years.”
Mr Kant further stated that in shaping the post-COVID reality, there is no way out for India but growth. “We have an opportunity to usher in change that will see our society transform within a generation. Despite the impact of the pandemic, India’s macro-economic fundamentals remain strong. Most of the agencies are predicting growth for the current fiscal to be between 9.5%-11% depending on the strength of the recovery. Early signs signal towards a strong recovery,” he added.
MSMEs, Mr Kant noted will play a significant role in reviving India’s economic growth and in achieving the vision of a self-reliant India. “There is a need for the Indian MSMEs to enhance their capabilities to supply quality products at a competitive price, embracing technological solutions across the supply chain is imperative in addressing quality concerns and improving cost competitiveness. This will be possible by a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. By serving global markets through quality and cost-competitive products, MSMEs have the potential to drive export-led growth in India. Competitive MSMEs will have a spillover effect of reducing our import dependency especially in labour-intensive manufactured good like garments and electronics amongst others,” he added.
Mr Kant emphasized that one of the most critical aspects for India’s integration into the global value chain is for our industries to become globally competitive. This can be achieved through the adoption of disruptive and transformational technological processes in industries. “The government is committed to creating an enabling environment for the MSMEs and private sector to thrive. The private sector will also need to help the MSMEs by adopting the latest technologies and new business processes. With the world rapidly changing, the emergence of new technologies and changes in consumer preferences, we should guide and upskill our MSME sector to take advantage of the new global environment,” he added.
Mr Uday Shankar, President of, FICCI said that the resetting of the global supply chain is a massive possibility but at the same time the entire pivot and the focus on new technologies or sustainability and green technologies are something that the MSME sector needs to look at. “At FICCI, we consider MSMEs to be at the nucleus of India and the growth engine of the economy in future,” he added.
Mr R Narayan, President, FICCI-CMSME stated that Indian MSMEs are ready to adopt new technologies and digitization to keep up with changing business dynamics. “Digitization has played a significant role in enabling MSMEs to survive in such tough conditions. However, the bigger question is how the digitization will enable MSMEs to become resourceful, sustainable and what else could be expected from digitization. We all know that the possibilities are immense,” he added.
Mr Ajit Mohan, Managing Director and Vice President, Facebook India while launching the ‘Facebook’s Small Business Loans’ initiative said, “Facebook is committed to creating economic opportunities for the growth of India’s small businesses. Access to timely capital is more important than ever as it can help small businesses jump-start their economic activity and recovery. The Small Business Loans Initiative will help our small business advertisers to build for their growth journeys by securing timely business loans at very competitive rates and conditions. We’re also thrilled to be partnering with FICCI-CMSME to build new initiatives that can unleash further growth for MSMEs in India.
Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that MSMEs are looking at access and the ease of getting access to finance. Interest rates are secondary, he added.