SMEs badly hit; need more money : CII

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Kochi, Oct 17 (UNI) Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) southern region Chairman Dr B V R Mohan Reddy today said more money should be made available for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as repercussions of the financial meltdown had adversely affected the interests of the SME sector.

Delivering a talk on the 'Current State of Indian Economy' here, Dr Reddy said '' SMEs were the backbone of CII and they were annihilated as a fall out of the global financial crisis.'' Considering the importance of the SME sector, CII was promoting clusters with an aim to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in developing excellence, total cost management tools, energy conservation and management tools, he said.

Dr Reddy pointed out that presently seven cluster projects were in progress, covering 80 companies and an additional six new cluster projects would be launched this fiscal in Visakapatnam, Tiruchirapalli, Bangalore, Chennai, Hosur and Kochi.

Commenting on the financial crackdown, Dr Reddy said 'Wall Street' could not be isolated from the 'main street' and the current crisis was one of the negatives of globalisation, he added.

Appreciating the repair efforts of the Reserve Bank of India, Dr Reddy said the decision to cut the Cash Reserve Ratio by 250 basis point would infuse close to Rs 100,000 crore into the economy.

The move to allow a temporary relaxation in Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) to the extent of 0.5 per cent, would also pump in Rs 25,000 crore into the liquidity-starved economy.

He said with the Dollar appreciation and weakening of the Rupee, exports had become cheaper and imports costlier. This would fuel inflation.

Outlining CII's initiative, Dr Reddy said the Confederation was preparing detailed plans for development of 16 districts, including four in Kerala--Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakad and Kannur--in the southern region as part of its 'National Visison -India @75'.

He said CII's vision documents released for Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu had chalked out strategies for the long-term development of these states.

CII will train 25,000 school dropouts on work skills to make them employable. It had also adopted 42 ITIs in the region for upgradation through public-private partnerhsip (PPP). Another 50 would be adopted this fiscal, Dr Reddy said.

As part of its skill development programme, CII would also train 5,000 faculty members on 'soft skills' through industry-university consortium and strives to introduce 'soft skills' as 'Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) in 20 universities in the region.

Dr Reddy said CII would also work for the pormotion of tier II and tier III cities-- the growth engines of the economy.

UNI MA VV 1753

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