Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil key initiatives and a hub to provide support to entrepreneurs from the SC/ST community in Ludhiana, Punjab, next Tuesday.
The National SC/ST Hub, under the micro, small and medium enterprises ministry, was announced in the Budget as well. With an initial outlay of Rs 490 crore, the hub will work towards strengthening market access/linkage, monitoring, capacity building, leveraging financial support schemes and sharing industry-best practices.
It will also enable central public sector enterprises to fulfil the procurement target set by the government. The Public Procurement Policy 2012 stipulates that 4 per cent of procurement done by ministries, departments and CPSEs will have to be from enterprises owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs.
The MSME sector, including the service segment, is a key driver of India's economic growth as it contributes nearly 38 per cent to the country's gross domestic product and employs close to 11 crore people.
On the occasion, the prime minister will also launch a zero defect, zero effect (on environment) (ZED) scheme, distribute charkhas to women and present national awards to outstanding micro, small and medium enterprises.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Union MSME Minister Kalraj Mishra and Governor of Punjab V P Singh Badnore will grace the occasion.
The ZED scheme was first mentioned by Modi in his Independence Day speech in 2014. It denotes high quality manufacturing with a minimal negative impact on the environment.
"ZED will hand-hold MSMEs across the country in all Make in India sectors through quality control cells constituted by the government, which will rate them after carrying out annual assessment of their products. It is aimed at raising quality levels in the unregulated MSME sector," a senior official told PTI.
The assessment model based on quality and environment parameters designed by the Quality Council of India will initially target units belonging to sectors like textiles, apparel, food products and beverages, among others.
The units will be awarded bronze, silver, gold, diamond and platinum ratings based on their performance. A ZED platinum rating would signify that a manufacturer follows global best practices and is of international standard.
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the National Conference of Dalit Entrepreneurs, organised by the DICCI, in New Delhi on December 29, 2015. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot and other dignitaries are also seen. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Press Information Bureau