While addressing a group of women entrepreneurs from different countries at the 12th Annual Awards and Conference of International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation, IWEC 2019 on Monday, Union Minister for Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) Nitin Gadkari encouraged women entrepreneurs from across the globe to invest in the manufacturing sector in India.

He said, “MSME contributes to 49 per cent of India’s total export and is directly related to the development of the country”.

The conference was attended by over 250 women entrepreneurs from 20 countries.

He explained how the government is using technology and innovations to boost the rural agricultural and tribal sectors of India through new technologies and innovations. He said that new technology and innovation emits knowledge and the basic concept is how to convert that knowledge into wealth.

Gadkari further said, “In India around 65 to 70 per cent population lives in rural and tribal areas while other in metro and big cities. There is huge potential in the rural and tribal areas”.

Taking an example of honey products in India, Gadkari said, “Honey is a very important product and when I took charge as MSME minister we decided to increase our expenditure on honey ten times more. Honey available in high altitude area, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, is of good quality. In tribal areas as well, there is a variety of honey available and by using technology, we have increased the honey production by 20 per cent, so that we can now make honey products by using new technology.”

“We suggested Mother Dairy, a reputed milk processing company, to make ice cream using honey and they are researching on it to make it possible,” minister said.

He also told about how the government is planning to increase the use of famous oranges from Nagpur, a city in Maharashtra. He also told that Mother Dairy has already making ‘burfi’ using oranges from Nagpur which has become so popular that it is not available due to high demands.

“We have divided MSME into rural agriculture part and metro cities part, where there are multiple industries approximately six crores. We need to diversify the economy towards the tribal and rural area,” said Gadkari.

He further took an example of bamboo and told how bamboo is used to make aviation oil in India.

“We have ample of bamboos available so we started experimenting on using bamboo to make aviation oil. On January 26, the Defence Ministry used the biojet fuel made by using bamboo to fly fighter jets. The rate of our bio aviation oil comes to Rs 42 per litre which is very less as compared to what we were exporting at Rs 65 to 70 per litre,” he said.

He also said that non-edible oil is available in tribal areas which can be used to make diesel of good quality which would be cost effective and pollution free.

“We are focusing on developing industries in rural and tribal areas where raw material is available and on that basis we want to increase the productivity and employment potential,” Gadkari said.

He emphasised that the international companies should look at India for setting up their manufacturing base as it will reduce their cost of manufacturing by 25% to 40% while ensuring the quality and the latest technology.

He also said that the Indian government is supporting such investment through different programmes.

Later, the minister also answered different questions asked by women entrepreneurs at the conference. He also suggested them to visit the MSME website and explore different government schemes for the investment.

In order to boost the morale of women entrepreneurs in India, he announced to launch a book and website of 100 successful women entrepreneurs with FLO to show the path and encourage thousands of women willing to become entrepreneurs.

The desk was shared by Harjinder Kaur Talwar, President FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) and Ibukun Awosika, President, IWEC Foundation who appreciated the government’s initiative to boost the MSME sector and also thanked entrepreneurs from different countries to attend the conference.