By Songbedna Bauri: The SMEs located in Andheri East, the industrial hub of Mumbai, are facing the pressure of various issues such as demand-supply gap and labour crunch. Analysts are of the opinion that these issues are also impacting the economic competitiveness of Maharashtra.
While speaking to SME News about the poor manpower conditions in Andheri East, Niranjan Hiranandani, president of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), said, “The SME sector is basically facing a supply demand mismatch. The NREGA factor is drawing unskilled labour back into UP and Bihar and depleting the SME sector in Western India of low wage workers. Andheri’s gradual transformation from an industrial to a corporate hub (like so many other places in Mumbai) is another important factor (at least in Mumbai) causing SMEs to face an increasingly acute labour crunch. For obvious reasons, SME salaries cannot match those provided by the corporate world.”
It is believed that government’s scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has helped the workforce on relocating to other states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. As employment opportunities are on the rise in various other states across the country, manufacturing activities is becoming weak in the absence of skilled manpower.
Hiranandani further added, “It is unfortunate that Maharashtra is losing its economic competitiveness. The process started long ago and the sterling political leadership provided by other states (Gujarat, Bihar etc.) has only helped accelerate it. Many states are now offering better work related opportunities than Maharashtra and so much of the migrant labour is choosing to go back.”
Many sectors have started initiatives to strengthen the labour count in the region. The rubber industry has unveiled a RSDC (Rubber Skill Development Centre), a special purpose vehicle (SPV) last month with the aim to help train people in polytechnic.
The Small and Medium Business Development Chamber of India has already commenced an Employment Exchange service for SMEs so that skilled manpower can be offered training.