Does it really work? The Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Program of India

By Jeevika Eraiyoli

What is the Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Programme?

A programme launched by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, what does the ESDP mean for, and how will it affect India’s economic growth?

The Ministry of MSME has been organizing a number of Entrepreneurship and skill development programmes for the existing & potential entrepreneurs, in order to build their capacity to take up successful ventures. ESDP is an important component under the vertical of “Development of MSMEs”, which has been up-scaled in consonance with the changing landscape of the MSME Ecosystem and its present challenges in India. (as per the Guidelines (as amended on 20.11.2019))



Why do we need such a program?

Some of the major problems faced by entrepreneurs today include cash flow management, hiring employees, time management, etc.. An ESDP would generally attempt to eliminate these problems by proper guidance and support. It is very crucial in the current circumstances for India to create new businesses and job opportunities to fight unemployment, a major issue currently, and reap the benefits of this large population, pushing India forward in the global economic viewpoint. It will also mark the jumpstart of a possible mindset change among many Indians who favour the more ‘conventional’ careers, and make enterprise viewed as a viable career option instead of a risky gamble.


What does this program hope to achieve?

The programme aims to motivate youth representing different sections of the society including SC/ST/Women, differently-abled, Ex-servicemen and BPL persons to consider self employment or entrepreneurship as one of their career options.

This is great and definitely something that was long overdue I believe- overall, these measures will uplift these groups, make the environment a lot more inclusive, and bring a lot more diversity in the enterprise scenario in India. However, I hoped preference was also given to the transgender community, given that they, too, highly suffer economically due to isolation from majority of the society.


Details of the Program

In order to enhance the outreach of the programme, the EFCs have been conceptualized.

The Enterprise Facilitation Centres have two verticals, the EFV that focuses on ideation, mentoring, etc., and the SDV which acts as a data supplier, and advisor to potential job seekers.

This step is essentially a decentralization and a great solution to the problem of MSME-DIs in only state capitals and select other cities. I believe this will make the resources a lot more accessible and well known and result in an all round success of the project. Not to mention, the youth (and any other aspirants) will be well equipped and informed to reach their aspirations.


Who can avail these benefits?

Candidates must have an authenticated AADHAR card so as to prevent duplications. Beneficiaries must be at least 18 years old, there is however, no upper age limit. Additionally in exceptional cases like dropouts, there might be consideration. SC, ST, Women, Ex-Service Persons of Defence Forces, Differently Abled and BPL category persons will be given preference while choosing beneficiaries.

20 % of the total targeted of ESDPs are conducted exclusively for weaker sections of the society i.e. (SC/ST/women and PH) with a stipend of Rs.500/- pmp candidate under the Promotional Package for MSEs.


Monitoring

Empowered committee under AS & DC MSME with the concerned, ADC, JDC, a nominee of IFW, representatives of Industry A

Associations shall be responsible for overall monitoring and evaluation.

Online monitoring and evaluation portal on real time basis through the Web based MIS

Implementing agencies have to ensure that the data of each activity including participant’s, is accounted for further follow-up, hand-holding, etc.

These are good measures to keep a check on the progress of the activities remotely. This kind of an online database must also make the monitoring less of hassle in light of the pandemic. Again, these responsibilities are distributed among several agencies meaning the data will be more authentic than otherwise.


How has COVID-19 impacted the programme?

The three-month lockdown has forced smaller businesses to focus on survival rather than growth because of shortage of working capital to run their business. The government has been putting in lots of efforts to get the sector out of the brink of collapse. It has introduced several measures to infuse liquidity to provide relief to this ailing sector. They have introduced measures like offering collateral-free loan assistance and special liquidity schemes through partial guarantee schemes to revive the sector. This, the government hopes would arrest job losses and would help in kick-starting the economy again.


Is it effective? What are its drawbacks?

To an extent, yes it is effective. But it might not be to the extent required during these trying times. The funds allotted to the programme, (5% of the annual budget) aren’t enough to properly provide support to a lot of businesses, more so due to COVID-19. Additionally, all physical workshops and seminars have ceased and that is undoubtedly a major setback. However, given there is only so much the government can do keeping in mind its funds and the magnitude of businesses to support. And so, although it is essential to have a critical view, we need to be lenient while judging the outcomes of this scenario.


Thus this programme will prove to be a great step;

It supports entrepreneurs and also encourages more people into it. This will bring a major mind set change in India, and bring an overall ‘self-help, way of thinking. It will also uplift majorly marginalized communities of India like ST, SC, women, etc. and give them an economic boost, a step closer to eradicating this still prevalent issue. The number of companies that will be able to realise their dreams through this program is huge and the subsequently generated job opportunities will also help solve the ever looming unemployment issue in India and put her workforce to good use. This programme will also support the Make in India movement and give it great momentum.

In conclusion, it will be a great boost to India's economy and society as a whole.


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