The Home Department, Government of Sikkim, has issued a notification for procurement assistance for state Micro & Small Enterprises (MSEs) under the Commerce & Industries Department (C&ID), for both products and services, as a support to their growth and development.
All government departments, offices, universities, colleges, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and other institutions established under the state government, or with the financial assistance of the state government, companies, hotels and restaurants of 3 star and above grade shall procure at least 25% of total procurement per annum of the goods produced and services rendered by the Udhyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM) registered MSES empanelled under the state C&ID.
In case of confusion with regard to empanelment under the C&ID, N. Jaswant, Joint Secretary of MSME, explains that the entrepreneurs who are willing to sell their products or services are to be scrutinized by the C&ID, then will be empanelled to the department. After this, the empanelled entrepreneurs will be shared to all via the department’s website.
The new notification focuses on traditional techniques of producing goods – carpet weaving, handloom products, wood carving and painting activities by rural artisans. Though preserved by the Directorate of Handloom and Handicrafts (DHH) and the various centres it has across the state, modernization by updating technology, skill development programmes and such would help the craftspeople to prepare products more efficiently.
More preference for women entrepreneurs, with additional 15% reimbursement, since the last few years have seen various businesses blossom all across the state, where women took the lead and offered products and services to the public.
Smita Rai, the founder of Namchi Designer Candles, hopes that this actually continues on a regular basis, since sometimes a lot of initiatives tend to come and go, eventually disappearing.
“When the government makes these provisions with us in mind, entrepreneurs tend to feel good and counted”, she says.
There is also a special provision for environment conservation where two “Green Incentives” are being undertaken:
- Reimbursement of the 50% cost limited to Rs. 1 lakh for water audit and Rs. 2 lakhs for energy audit will be provided.
- 50% of the cost up to Rs. 1 lakh for plantation in and around the plant will be reimbursed.
Although there are such reimbursement schemes, will there be programmes that teach about sustainable resources for the manufacture of products and packaging, or water conservation during the making of products (if required)? Governmemt departments’ approach towards the environment could be more active and engaging rather than passive.
One of the objectives of this particular notification is to promote the development of entrepreneurship within the state through providing awareness, sensitization and exposure. But the word ‘entrepreneur’ is thrown around casually in conversations and used by practically anybody who owns a business. The actual reality is different. For the sake of not digressing too far from our topic, renting a space and setting up a small shop isn’t entrepreneurship. The word is heavy, so is the struggle one takes up to create a successful start-up. But that is a story for another day.