Aparna S in conversation with Sangeetha Agasthi, DGM, MSME Foundation for SMBIT.INBANGALORE, INDIA: Sangeetha Agasthi manages the regional office of MSME Foundation based in Kolkata and manages the Policy and Research portfolio. MSME has theme-based divisions and branches like Business Responsibility, Policy and Action Research, Innovation (ICT and Pharmaceuticals). Each of these have independent managers and mechanisms of operations. Sangeetha is a Masters in Economics and a MBA graduate with her job at UNIDO focusing on cluster development.
Sangeetha says that India has more than 6000 plus clusters across industries including Engineering, ICT, Rural Clusters, Food Processing, Manufacturing Clusters and so on. Her current profile includes identifying aspects which can accelerate the growth of clusters like deployment of better technologies that can reduce the costs, development of applications to facilitate collective actions which result in higher productivity, upgradation of skills and helps in being competitive.
MSME has a foundation of clusters called Foundation of MSME Clusters. The focus areas for the activities include:
1.Building capacity of the Institutions to implement cluster development
2.Give institutional support for implementing cluster development
3.Give strategic direction for implanting cluster development
4.Initiate the piloting of different activities and direct implantations of ideas for cluster development
Also read: Profile of MSME Foundation
The foundation also plays a critical role in activities related to the development of the MSME industry by the MSME ministry. These include providing aid in policy making, servicing India and other countries like South Africa in their policy development, giving institutional support for different clusters and so on.
They also support clusters on a high priority and need basis, like the Foundry, Energy and Environment clusters in Kolkata. In the Dept of Science and Technology, they promote any innovative idea and technology to be used in the development of clusters. The foundation also conducts seminars, workshops, and conferences to enhance awareness and educate the SMES about the services from MSME.
Sangeetha does say that there are several challenges faced by the SMEs, which need to be addressed related to laws and policies and severe restrictions on SMEs. The focus for the upcoming year includes activities related to Business Responsibility issues, Energy and Environment issues and also a key focus to incubate and implement new ideas.