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Globalization will kill Small-Scale Industries in India

Globalization is the metamorphosis of the individual nations into an integrated entity by means of their interconnection on an economic, social and cultural level, fuelled by easy transport and communication among them. It is the modern renaissance that makes ideas, goods, services, trade, technology and culture permeate into the entire geography of the world thus turning it into a global village.

While globalization is a large scale phenomenon, small scale enterprises are a local phenomenon but having effects of dimensions as large as it's global 'friend and foe'. Friend- because both globalization and small scale industries are the two wheels of the vehicle of economic growth and prosperity; foe- because some argue that given the developing nation that India is, Small Scale Industries(SSIs) can suffer and strangulate to death by the fierce competition put up by globalization. Let us observe and decide.

Micro and small scale enterprises have existed in India since ages in the form of traditional skills and knowledge based products made by people for the self sufficiency of rural India. Today as per the government definition, "An industrial undertaking in which the investment in fixed assets in plant and machinery whether held on ownership terms on lease or on hire purchase does not exceed Rs. 10 million, can be categorized as small scale undertaking". After independence, the Indian government made various laws to help revive and flourish the SSI because of the employment potential it had at a low capital cost. It needed mediocre technical knowledge and minimal infrastructure to set up. Thus it was and is the most ideal form of employment opportunity for both the urban and rural population. It not only encourages entrepreneurship among people but also makes them self reliant. Govt. funding, support and intensive promotion has aided people to participate more in this successful phenomenon making SSI the second largest employment sector after agriculture. It forms about 45-50% of our exports. The products also form a large percentage of our domestic market too with SSI producing a number of products like confectionaries, spices, beverages, natural essence oils, dyes, sports goods, wooden furniture, glass, ceramic and earthen wares, cotton and woolen knitted products, silk and synthetic wear, leather shoes, bags, garments and novelty items, plastic items, survey instruments, auto parts, clocks and watches, musical instruments, lab chemicals, basic metallic and non-metallic mineral products. They are the dynamic sectors of our economy. It also leads to the preservation of many traditional and indigenous skills and products our country is famous for. It is the road to rural industrialization and 'rural urbanization' thus creating a regional balance.

India was self reliant and self sufficient but with the march of the world towards industrialization India found its closed policy of trade leading to an impending economic crisis. The main reason behind this was the focus of efforts on heavy industries and lack of it on the consumption goods. From 1991 India witnessed a major change as the govt. introduced liberalization, privatization and globalization reforms to pep up the economy. Soon the world realized what a big 1billion-population-market India was. They brought their goods to India which were mass produced and therefore cheaper and of better quality than the local goods. They started challenging the SSI and thus posed an end to them. Further with the introduction of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the MNCs were facilitated with areas with liberal economic and trade laws, round the clock facilities and concessions to enhance foreign investments and promote exports. This endangered the existence and survival of SSIs.

But this is not the complete picture. A lot of foreign entrepreneurs who do not have the time or funds to build the infrastructure for their own manufacturing unit in India engage a number of SSI owners to produce goods for them in a short span of time and sell them to cater to the international demand. In other words they outsource the manufacturing to the Indians. Thus it leads to more labour absorption and growth of SSIs. Many of the SSIs have turned into LSIs this way. Also the demand for SSI goods will never finish as a lot of their products are not lucrative options for the MNCs. For example, the incense sticks or agarbatties, bangles, pickles, etc. are not a catch for LSIs but have a constant demand and thus SSIs have a great opportunity in identifying such areas.

So it can be said that both globalization and SSIs are the essentials of Indian economy and India must make efforts to promote, sustain and aid both in a fair and unbiased way. A fruitful measure would be to reserve certain goods for production exclusively by the SSIs and their intelligent outsourcing by the govt. to ensure maximum benefits. Also the govt. should advertise the indigenous goods worldwide so that the foreign folk also go in for the ethnic items produced here like khadi, silk, wool, statues, gems, ornaments, etc. as these represent the traditional art form and culture of the region. As far as the financial aids are concerned, the govt. is doing good work to make things simple and possible for the interested individuals by funding and financial support. Also the setting up of institutes for technical training and skill enhancement of the workforce is helping in a big way.

While globalization has put us on the map of superpower countries, SSIs have empowered the common man to walk with the same stride as the big-wigs. For India to be a superpower, it is must make efforts to strengthen each and every thread of its economic fabric to make the flag of its success fly high

Anubha Gupta