Industrial clusters have an important role in the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises mainly due to their inclusiveness, technology absorption, efficiency improvement and availability of common resources. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) adopted the cluster approach as a key strategy for enhancing the productivity and competitiveness as well as capacity building of small enterprises.
The State has already adopted the cluster development approach for industrialisation to reap the benefits of agglomerations.. The State supports cluster development through MSME-DI, Thrissur and Kerala Bureau of Industrial Promotion (K-Bip). The Common Facility Centres, which are at various stages of development in the State, are in the areas of wood, plywood, furniture, Rubber, Textile, Rice Mill, Plastic, Printers, Ethnic Food, Agriculture Implements, and general engineering. The State has identified about 75 SME clusters and they are at different stages of development. Central Government agencies like Coir Board, SISI, and NGOs like Federation of Industrial Clusters are also taking initiatives in Cluster Development. The cluster development initiatives by the State Government with the support of Ministry of MSME has gained adequate momentum and the Ministry has already sanctioned 14 projects to Kerala of which 8 have been commissioned, 5 projects are on-going and in-principle approval has been obtained for the upgrading of the cluster at Poovanthuruthu, Kottayam.
‘Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is a credit-linked subsidy scheme at the national level, which aims to generate employment opportunities by setting up of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector in rural as well as urban areas. During the period from 2008-09 to 2014-15, 2.96 lakh units have been assisted with margin money subsidy of 5867.68 crore to create employment for an estimated 25.87 lakh persons in the country. During 2015-16, 860.51 crore has been released by the Ministry as margin money under PMEGP out of which 528.32 crore has already been disbursed by the banks, assisting 24126 new projects providing employment to 1.71 lakh persons. Since its inception in 2008-09 until January 31, 2016, PMEGP assisted in the setting up of 84296 projects by women entrepreneurs. (Source: MSME Annual Report 2015-16, Ministry of MSME, GOI.)
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) was approved as the nodal agency for implementation of the scheme at national level. In Kerala, State KVIC Directorate, State Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB), District Industries Centres (DICs) and bankers are the agencies for implementation of the scheme. The banks sanctioned 758 applications and provided Margin Money of 917.092 lakh upto 31st March, 2016. Details are given in Appendix 3.29 and Appendix 3.30. During 2016-17 up to September 2016, 1430 applications were received. Applications sanctioned by banks are 26 and margin money sanctioned and released is 109.62 lakh.