Political commentator and economist S Gurumurthy and actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan have called for a stronger focus on the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for maintaining economic growth and job creation.

They addressed a meeting organised by the FICCI National Executive Committee here on Wednesday.

Economic contribution

Gurumurthy said India was sustained only by small and medium enterprises and the economy was always family-driven and savings-driven.

About 60 per cent of exports are sourced from the SME industrial clusters across the country. Ninety per cent of the industry employment is outside the organised sector and 58 million non-formal units generate 128 million employments, for which the bank advance is just five per cent of their total requirements, he said.

Stating that industrial demand would not go up unless SME sector came up well, Gurumurthy pointed out that the real performing India was not on the radar of governments, media and others.

Drawing a comparison, Gurumurthy highlighted that the organised segment, which includes public and private sectors put together, could add only 2.9 million jobs between 1991 and now.

Taking a macro view, Gurumurthy said countries have to think for themselves when formulating policies and models as just aping the Western model has been proved wrong. This has been reiterated not only by global institutions such as World Bank but also by Western countries themselves.

“Each country has to work out its own model for survival,” he added.

‘Look ahead’

Earlier, addressing a session, Kamal Haasan, founder of the Makkal Needhi Maiam party, said the survival of Tamil Nadu would mainly depend on the growth of small entrepreneurs.

Stating that the past 15 years were not good for the State, he felt industry, politicians and the government should think about the future instead of doing post-mortem on the recent past.

“There is an urgent need to attend to the problems plaguing the State and I will give my ears to the industry and work with them. We are working with a group in Harvard who are working on our policies based on the ground level problems in the State,” he said.

FICCI is promoting MSMEs and start-ups in Tamil Nadu in a big way and regional industry chambers and other platforms have a critical role in taking this to much higher levels, according to FICCI president Rashesh Shah.