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50 innovation clusters to help MSMEs

Source: The Economic Times, 29 March 2012

NEW DELHI: The National Innovation Council (NInC) aims to have around 50 innovation clusters covering the entire country by the end of 2012 to help out the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Chairman Sam Pitroda said Wednesday.{jcomments off}

"We plan to finish pilot, learn from it and then take this project to 50 clusters. I would like to see 40-50 clusters doing such innovations by the end of 2012. Ideally, would want 150 clusters in India to have innovation centre by the end of next year," Pitroda said, giving an update on the Innovation Cluster initiative launched in November 2011. The Indian government has declared 2010-2020 as the "Decade of Innovation". The cluster initiative aims to facilitate creation of ecosystems that will enable generation of new products, services, processes and business models, spurring job creation and inclusive growth.

In both developed and developing countries, MSMEs and start-ups are viewed as major engines of growth and employment. In 2010-11, Indian MSMEs represented 45 percent of manufactured output and 40 percent of exports.

India is estimated to have 5,000 regional MSME clustures that include the gems cluster in Surat (Gujarat), brassware cluster in Moradabad (UP) and textile clusture at Tirupur (Tamil Nadu).

But most MSME clusters in India suffer from lack of access to technology, research and development (R&D), financing and skills which in turn impact their growth and productivity.

NInC aims to create models for transforming regional MSME clusters into innovation ecosystems with collaborative partnerships among stakeholders.

Samir Mitra, a senior expert at NInC, said the Cluster Innovation Centres (CICs) acting as networking hubs for innovation ecosystems are being created in 8 clusters. In many instances, interactions between industry, research and development (R&D), academia and others had happened for the first time within the cluster.

The NInC has partnered with Council of Scientific and Indutrial Research (CSIR), Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (ILFS), Foundation of MSME Clusters (FMC), Tata Management Training Center (TMTC) and industry lobbies CII and FICCI for the 6 months pilot phase of this initiave which started in November 2011.

 
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