State firms may have to mandatorily buy from women entrepreneurs

Government is mulling making it mandatory for central ministries and PSUs to earmark a portion of their procurement of goods and services from women entrepreneurs, Union Minister Kalraj Mishra said today.

"We are planning to introduce that (compulsory procurement from women entrepreneurs)," the minister for micro, small and medium enterprises said on the sidelines of a programme organised by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He said due to shortage of SC/ST entrepreneurs, the 4 per cent procurement target set for them is not being met, and the government has taken serious note of it.

"We are not able to get the required number of SC/ST entrepreneurs. So we have decided to accept enterprises (to bring into the procurement policy) in which SC/ST persons are partners," he explained.

The government notified a new Public Procurement Policy for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in 2012 which mandates that 20 per cent of the annual procurement of goods and services by all Central ministries/ PSUs will be from micro and small enterprises.

Out of the overall target, 4 per cent has to be from MSEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs.

Earlier in his speech, Mishra said the government will soon unveil a blue-print for startups to ease the process of setting up new ventures.

"There will be a special support structure for innovation-based startups, including funding from the government. The initiative will give a new dimension to entrepreneurs and help set up a network of startups in the country," Mishra said.

According to him, MSMEs have shown consistent growth of over 10 per cent during recent years, much above the average growth rate of large scale corporates.

He further said the MSME sector accounts for 37.5 per cent of the country's GDP, 45 per cent of the total manufactured output and 44 per cent of its exports.

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