Encompassing social capital issues to raise the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in relatively backward regions through innovative cluster‐based approaches.
The SME sector, the second largest provider of employment after agriculture in India, will be instrumental in creating off‐farm employment to reduce unemployment in both urban and rural areas. India’s 11th Five Year Plan advocates the upgrading of technology, design skills, marketing support, entrepreneurship development, capacity building, infrastructure and easier access to credit to this sector. In line with this thinking is UNIDO Country Programme’s approach that the most cost‐effective intervention is at the level of industrial clusters in the country. For this, the first activity to be conducted would be the mapping of clusters to identify, inter alia, the major SME clusters in the country and analyse the specific interventions that are needed in such clusters to enhance their competitiveness. In this effort, the thrust would be on the 8 key areas to be addressed in strategies under the Country Programme namely : induction of clean technologies under a broad framework of “ Industry and Climate Change”; measures to introduce energy efficiency and conservation; new manufacturing technologies; water conservation practices; standardization and total quality management; design and other IPR issues; skill development; and investment promotion.
To begin with, the industrial clusters which have already been taken up under the government’s Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Schemes would be looked at. More states would also be covered to make sure that UNIDO intervention has an all‐India impact.
UNIDO Country Programme 2008‐2012 features, to the extent possible, a sectoral and geographical focus reflecting UNIDO’s domains of expertise as well as the emphasis given by the local authorities to particular sectors and regions. Thus, industrial enterprises in leather, textiles, auto components, machine tools, chemicals and food processing sectors figure prominently in the Country Programme.