Educational Opportunities for MSME Workers

Micro, Small and Medium sized companies face many challenges. Most ignored, unnoticed and unattended among them is shortage of skilled manpower. 
Problem of shortage of skilled and professionally trained manpower take us to the question of facilities & infrastructure to provide training and impart up-to-date skills to millions of MSME workers in the country. Despite the fact that hundreds of higher & technical educational shops are being started by leading large business houses across the country, there is real dearth of facilities, schemes and strategic thinking so as to address the shortage of semi-skilled personnel. It is indeed a State responsibility but private sector educational institutions too can contribute substantially.
MSMEs generate a large number employment, around 69 million workers in 29 million enterprises. If we add the contribution of unorganized or informal sector in employment, that would be a much larger figure. Informal sector enterprises too need focused educational and training support.   
While MSME contribution in employment generation, exports and GDP are always being talked about, providing needed education and imparting up-to-date professional, managerial and technical training at various fronts is something that is not well addressed. Reservation of products exclusively meant for MSMEs have shrunk to 21. Protection and support is no more a reality for MSMEs. In the knowledge and information driven global economy, MSMEs to thrive is very much a factor of competence of human resources. However, human factor has been ignored.
However, it is to be noted that majority of the units and ventures both in the organized as well as in unorganized or informal sector do not recognize the need for training, education and awareness. Many of the informal  and micro enterprise face real threat of extinction due to competition and global market realities. Making them understand the threat scenario itself would be a starting point in this educational outreach programme. Further, many of them are happy to remain in the prevailing status and are not eager to adopt technology, learn new skills and upgrade or expand to new areas. MSMEs and informal sector players cater to the local market, they produce and distribute and survive in “neighborhood economy”. However, they have to get prepared for global market in order to survive in their respective field of operations.
A lot of educational infrastructure has been created in the country, both in the private sector as well in the government sector in the past decade. Many states have got exclusive educational parks. If these institutions can develop programs targeted at Indian MSME workers that would be a great service to the nation. Specific programs need to be developed in order to meet the needs of MSMEs and informal sector. In this context, it is interesting to note a unique programme developed by Chandigarh Business School (CBS), Mohali. CBS undertook an educational outreach programme called  PURE. The programme PURE targets Dhabba managers and workers. PURE attempt to improve the conditions and management practices at Dhabbas, common man’s eating place, which are found across Northern India.
Academia can contribute a lot in strengthening & empowering MSMEs and informal sector. Project PURE by Chandigarh Business School is a good example in this regard. It is important to organize specific management development programs for the workers and managers of micro and small enterprises. Training and appropriate skill development is very much important for workers in all fields ranging from artisans to masons and carpenters; says Mr. John Philipose an eminent Musiololgist. Country needs semi-skilled people and facilities for vocational training to train workers in construction & building industry, just for instance, which will have a visible impact in the quality of future building structures as well, adds Mr. Philipose. 
Retail and wholesale traders are around 5 crore in India and out of 5 crore only 2 crore are registered with any government agency. Rest 3 crore are in the unorganized sector. This segment need urgent training and support in many areas such as accounting, marketing & sales, customer relationship to tax related matters says Mr. Vijay Prakash Jain of Akhil Bharatiya Vyapari Mandal.
Electronic waste and hazardous waste management is an emerging segment where a large number of entrepreneurs are finding their livelihood. In the waste management enterprises, informal sector plays a dominant role as they control over 70 percent of the market. Safe handling of e-waste is very important for all the stake holders considering the health aspects involved in it. "Providing needed training and capacity building would help them perform their businesses in a safe manner as well as add value to the waste that they collect. Value addition is an often neglected area and training is needed in the area of safety as well", says Shashi Bhushan Pandit, Secretary of All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasang. 
Institutional arrangements are very much needed for this. MSME Development Institutes, formerly SISIs, work with a focus on facilitating start-ups by delivering EDP programs. Apart from EDP programs, they should be strengthened by making technically qualified people available for imparting training to MSMEs, suggests Mr. V. N Prasad, Chief Economic Advisor, Global SME Forum.  Newly come up chain of private sector institutes can also contribute in empowering MSMEs through specific educational programs.
It is also about tapping an untapped business potential for all. All would benefit. But it needs some innovative thinking to reach out to the MSMEs and informal sector entrepreneurs.  


More by :  Dr. P Koshy

Top | Business

Views: 3684      Comments: 2

Comment Dear Dr Koshy,

Thank you for this very informative piece. It is really the order of the day, especially in India, where a growing young population need work, while Government is increasing the age limit of retirement, to even 70 years in some sectors, and this will affect young recruitment as the old is gold attitude continue to rob young brains of their rightful jobs. In the mean time, becoming an Entrepreneur is a very good option, also in terms of outsourcing manufacturing needs to talent available elsewhere.


Julia Dutta

Julia Dutta
03-Sep-2012 02:30 AM

Comment Dr.p.koshy's article is so relevant.i discussed the issue with many of indian experts.
our education policy is like that.still,it follows that colonial policy..there should be an overall change.......

01-Sep-2012 08:48 AM

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