MSME Ministry and FICCI’s buyer-seller meets to boost procurement from SC/ST entrepreneurs

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A series of buyer-seller meetings is being organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to connect MSMEs owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs with PSUs and private players. The first of these meetings will be held in Maharashtra, in Nagpur and Pune on January 21 and January 30, respectively, media reports say.

These buyer-seller meets are also proposed in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, and West Bengal. The meetings are expected to help entrepreneurs from marginalised communities enter the supply chain and get more involved in business deals.

State government departments and institutions like Government e-Marketplace (GeM) and Tribal Cooperation Marketing Development Federation of India ltd (TRIFED) will also actively participate in the buyer-seller meetings. The Centre for the Study of Caste and Capitalism, FICCI's MoU partner, as well as other Dalit-centric associations and local partners have also committed themselves towards this initiative.

The meetings are being held in light of the recent amendment in the Public Procurement Policy. The amendment has made it mandatory for all central ministries, departments, and Central Public Sector Units (CPSUS) to acquire at least 25 percent of their overall annual procurement and sub-targets from  small businesses to be from MSMEs owned by women and SC/ST entrepreneurs.

The procurement list from SC/ST vendors ranges from specific requirements of buyers to areas of common business interest, including gift items, footwear, stationery, industrial tools, furniture, hardware, cleaning products, and services such as housekeeping, maintenance, security, and IT.

The amended policy has been quickly put into action by some state governments who have adopted several initiatives to help entrepreneurs from marginalised communities in their respective regions.

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