India Plans SME Helpline


The toll-free helpline will assist SMEs in day-to-day operations, finance, marketing, legal, banking and taxation domains.

The Government of India plans to launch a toll-free helpline for small and medium businesses, which would offer assistance on issues like taxation, finance, laws, marketing and other relevant topics. This was disclosed by Dinesh Rai, secretary, ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Government of India, at a conference on ICT for SMEs, organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IndiaMART.com on 10 July 2009.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to SMEs, Rai said, “The toll-free helpline is part of our resolve to assist SMEs in day-to-day operations, finance, marketing, legal, banking and taxation domains.” Rai also underlined a plan to run a National Skill and Development Centre (NSDC) to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.

Highlighting the plight of SMEs, Dinesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, IndiaMART.com, appealed to the Government to minimise redtapism, encourage single-window clearance mechanisms, rationalise tax regimes and adopt a proactive strategy aimed at education and evangelism for SMEs. He also lamented the issue of technology providers trying to push highly-priced products and solutions to SMEs, which are beyond their budgets. “If SMEs are not provided with timely help, we will run the risk of a fall in exports and a resultant fall in GDP,” said Agarwal.

Painting a bullish picture about India’s future, Gurmukh Singh, head, business marketing, Intel, South Asia, exhorted the SME sector to be ready when exponential growth in India’s online universe throws up big possibilities. “By 2012, India will get 511 million Internet users and small businesses should be ready for it. Intel is already offering solutions and assistance which SMEs can make use of even today,” Singh said.

Rajiv Sodhi, director, emerging geographies, Microsoft India, educated the audience on the power of ICT for innovation and acceleration of business in time of recession. Speaking on the much-publicised ‘Project Vikas’, Sodhi reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to help SMEs, by offering tailor-made software solutions to aid in operations, maximising revenues and creating relationships with customers and partners.

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