Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra inaugurated the fourth edition of the India International Leather Fair on Thursday.
The three-day B2B event has been organised by the India Trade Promotion Organizations (ITPO).
Speaking at the function, Mishra said the Indian leather industry holds a prominent place in the economy with an annual turnover of USD 11 billion.
He described it as an employment intensive sector, providing jobs to about 2.5 million people in the country, and added that women employment is predominant in leather sector with about 30 per cent share.
The minister further said major markets for Indian leather and leather products are Germany (12.60 per cent), UK (11.96 per cent), USA (10.51 per cent), Hong Kong (8.82 per cent), Italy (8.77 per cent), France (6.39 per cent), Spain (5.34 per cent).
The total exports of India in this sector amounts to around USD6 billion with a growth rate of 20 per cent.
The MSME sector plays a key role in the development of economy of the country with their effective, efficient and innovative spirit.
Keeping in view, the role of MSME and its scope for further growth, ITPO has provided space at the fair, free of charge under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to various artisans/craftsmen of the leather cluster giving opportunity for exploring possibility of marketing of their products at national and international levels.
About 120 exhibitors, including 30 overseas companies from the countries such as China, France, Turkey, Taiwan and Iran are taking part in the fair.
“Trend Wall” is the theme of the fair, highlighting Indian expertise in the design development of exquisite and high quality leatherwear from finished leather through leather products.
The fair display a variety of products related to leather industry such as machinery, equipment and technology; finished leather; synthetic material; leatherite; footwear and footwear components; chemicals; leather garments, goods and accessories and publications and other.
Mishra also interacted with MSME sssociations from across the country here today and discussed important issues of general, regional and sectoral importance with a pan India gathering.
He lauded industry associations and the business and manufacturers organisations for playing an active role in conceptualising, developing and implementing the Government support packages for the industry and requested them to continue to come with innovative solutions to address various issues facing the sector and provide constructive inputs for policy formulation and implementation.
The minister said India is the pioneer in enacting specific legislation for the MSME Sector in the form of MSMED Act 2006 which has addressed issues which have been haunting the sector for long, like that of public procurement and delayed payments.
He highlighted a number of programmes and schemes in the areas of finance, infrastructure, technology, marketing and skill development being implemented by the ministry.
He informed that his ministry is trying to formalize the relationship with prominent MSME associations to be its partner in the growth process through a procedure of registration.
MSME Associations raised various issues like fluctuation in raw material prices, need for procurement Policy at the State level, uniform tax structure, insistence of banks for collaterals the problem of delayed payments, inflation, skill development, lack of awareness about the cluster development initiatives, setting up of a Vendor development cell, unwillingness of CPSUs to take supply from new MSMEs, tax incentives for MSME sector, simple registration of MSME Units, Land cost and availability, rehabilitation of sick enterprises and need for exit policies.
Mishra assured that their concerns will be addressed in near future at the right forum.
He further said that in the next five years, the MSME sector will create ample opportunities and that MSMEs can help India in its path to become a developed state.
Secretary MSME Madhav Lal and ASNDC Amarendra Sinha and senior officials from Ministry, KVIC, NSIC, SIDBI including major MSME Associations across the country and across sector were also present on the occasion. (ANI)