Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday that unemployment is a major challenge and MSMEs must create five crore jobs in five years to address the issue as India aims to become a USD 5-trillion economy.
Currently, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute 29 per cent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and have created 11 crore jobs in recent years.
Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of India becoming a USD 5-trillion economy, the Union transport and MSME minister said MSMEs will have to raise their contribution to GDP to 50 per cent and also create five crores more jobs in the next five years to achieve this objective.
"Unemployment is the biggest challenge facing us. Eleven crore jobs have been created and you (MSMEs) have to generate 5 crores more jobs in the country in five years," he said at the 6th India International MSME Expo here.
Moreover, he said the government has taken several steps towards addressing key challenges faced by MSMEs, including in marketing of their products and ensuring timely payments to them.
Highlighting that e-commerce firm Alibaba had a major role in China's economic growth, Gadkari said the MSME ministry has signed an agreement with the Government e-Market (GeM) portal under the commerce ministry to establish India's new e-commerce marketing portal.
The new portal may be named 'Bharat Craft', he said, adding that the online platform will be of the scale of Amazon and Alibaba.
The government, he added, has set a target for the proposed portal to achieve a turnover of at least Rs 10 lakh crore in the next two years.
To ensure timely payments to MSMEs and prevent erosion of their working capital, Gadkari said the government is "seriously exploring" if it can bring legislation to ensure payments within 45 days of supplying a product.
The minister said he has spoken to global multilateral lending agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and KfW to see if the cost of capital can be brought down for the MSME sector, one of the largest job creators in the country.
The three-day MSME Expo at Pragati Maidan opened on Friday.