MSME Day: MSME Day 2022: The Architecture for Stronger and Equitable Economic Growth in India

In March 2020, a few weeks after the first lockdown, we at ETRise decided to deviate from what we normally write about and focus on Covid-19 and its implications for small businesses. The writing was on the wall – as long as the lockdown lasted and Covid was around, small businesses would be badly hit. What we didn’t expect was for the pandemic to continue for more than two years.

The millions of lives lost, the thousands of businesses destroyed and the livelihoods that disappeared marked an intense and tragic chapter in our lives. MSME Day coverage for 2020 focused on “Indian Small Business Restart” as we at ETRise wanted to help MSMEs find their place after a prolonged period of lockdown. In 2021, as the world tried to break the shackles and vaccines brought a glimmer of hope, Indian exports and millions of smaller exporters profited from the boom. For MSME Day 2021, we focused on how India can contribute to the world. India’s overall exports (goods and services) reached a record high of $669.65 billion in April-March 2021-22, jumping 34.50% from the corresponding period last year.

The 74th Plenary Session of the United Nations General Assembly on April 6, 2017 adopted the resolution to observe June 27 as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Day or MSME Day. The idea behind the resolution was that MSMEs play a crucial role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all. MSME Day should focus on MSMEs and their contributions to the global economy.

This year, the focus of MSME Day is a bit different. The world finds itself in flux again, this time not so much because of a pandemic, but largely because of tectonic shifts in economic conditions. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict, supply chain disruptions, inflation, skyrocketing commodity prices and food shortages threaten to derail a nascent global recovery. In fact, a report by the International Rice Research Institute indicates that there will be 36 million tonnes less rice – enough to feed 500 million people. Behind each of these events lies the fragile global supply chain that has been lacking since the start of the pandemic.

MSMEs have always faced challenges, from access to credit to ease of doing business. But the issues around the supply chain are new. These have an impact on all aspects of our lives. From our toothpaste to the food we eat, the supply chain ensures that all goods reach us efficiently and economically. For businesses, everything from sourcing raw materials to sales to forecasting demand depends on the supply chain. If the supply chain weakens, the very foundation of a business is at risk.

India is seizing economic opportunities, but supply chain disruptions have impacted short-term growth and clouded the long-term outlook. Every sector and every industry must be prepared to reinvent itself. For MSME Day 2022, ETRise focuses on the need to “strengthen India’s supply chain to power self-reliant MSMEs”. Politics, technology, leadership, skills, and the entire ecosystem must develop new capabilities, augment existing ones, and prepare for a new world. The aspirations of a trillion dollar economy cannot be achieved on creaky infrastructure, suboptimal operations, and disregard for people and society.

MSME Day 2022 will delve deeper into these crucial aspects so that disruption does not come in the way of the quest for sustainable and inclusive growth. MSME Day 2022 content shows how businesses and organizations can become resilient and build a better world. On June 27, MSME Day 2022 will host key government officials, industry leaders and experts to deliberate on the way forward to the next normal. To hear the voices that matter most, subscribe here.

(The one-stop destination for MSMEs, ET RISE provides news, views and analysis on GST, exports, finance, policy and small business management.)

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