The fall comes even as several states, including Maharashtra, plan a separate policy to facilitate the growth of SC/ST entrepreneurs.

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Even as governments at both Centre and state stress on boosting entrepreneurship under the Make In India initiative, the number of Muslim-owned registered Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has come down in the country from 10.24 per cent in 2009-10 to 9.1 per cent in 2014-15, as per the Annual report of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise.

The fall comes even as several states, including Maharashtra, plan a separate policy to facilitate the growth of SC/ST entrepreneurs. Muslims make up 14.2 per cent of the country’s population. Due to various socio-economic reasons, nearly50 per cent of urban Muslims are self employed vis-a-vis 33 per cent of urban Hindus.

The traditional businesses operated by Muslims included industries such as silk and sericulture, hand and power looms, the leather industry, automobile repairing and garment-making. However, many of these have been hit by liberalisation. “Muslims businesses are now playing the role of scavengers in the Indian economy. You will find them in the business of scrap collection and automobile repair. Their presence as owners of growth sectors is limited. While some of it can be attributed to lethargy, the absence of government support in helping Muslims is also hurting the community,” Dr Abdul Shaban, member of the UPA-appointed Post Sachar Evaluation committee, said.
Muslim entrepreneurs claim that many of them shy away from paperwork and do not get access to government schemes.

“Many Muslims entrepreneurs feel it is exceptionally difficult for them to get access to credit for expanding businesses. Perceived, and sometimes real, discrimination by both public and private sector banks in providing bank credit is widespread. Businessmen feel that rather than going through the rigmarole of documentation and end up with no benefits, it is better if they do not register themselves,” Aamir Idrisi, President of the Association of Muslim Professionals, said.

MSMEs, as per MSMED Act, 2006, are defined based on their investment in plant and machinery. For the manufacturing sector, it ranges from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 10 crore and for service sector from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 5 crore.

Muslim representation in the unorganised MSMEs, which is around 2-crore strong, is 12 per cent. “There is a section of Muslim businessmen who feel that taking loans and paying interest is against their religion. However, there are cases where banks have turned down loans to Muslim business-owners. There is a serious disparity between government schemes and benefits percolating to Muslim businessowners,” chartered accountant Manzoor Hasan said.

The ‘M’s 15 Point Programme mandates a certain share of priority sector lending for the minorities. The amount disbursed to them under priority sector lending was Rs.58,663 crore in 2007-08, which increased to Rs.1,64,748 crore in 2011-12. The achievement in targets has been above 85% in all the financial years at the all-India level. However, the share of credit lent to minorities has ranged between 7.5% in 2006-07 to 11.3% in 2012-13. “Clearly, Muslims are not the major beneficiaries of priority sector lending, since both the targets and achievements in Muslim-concentrated states have been very low. Surprisingly, the targeted amounts and their utilisation are very low in Uttar Pradesh — even less than those of Punjab,” Dr Amitabh Kundu, who headed the Post Sachar Evaluation Committee, said. (indianexpress)


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