Corona crisis can turn to be a blessing in disguise for the MSME sector if it can trigger a revival and resurgence of small industries and businesses.
The COVID-19 crisis is likely to become a blessing in disguise for local manufacturing industries and for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) worldwide. It can be a trigger for their revival and resurgence. If so, the post-pandemic days will turn to be an opportunity for skilled, jobless and unorganized workers to contribute to local economies by way of being part of local ventures, small industries and agro-farm businesses.
As of now, global production is highly centralized and focused on a few manufacturing hubs. The world is dependent on supplies from these hubs. Local markets are being flooded with cheap imported products of all kinds. Local small manufacturing sector contribution in total production has receded significantly in favour of supplies from these cheap manufacturing hubs.
This scenario is not exclusive to manufacturing alone. In fact, even local farmers and farms are no longer active and cultivation-centric. For instance, in the state of Kerala, India, most of the vegetables and food items come from neighbouring states.
During the lockdown days, with the interstate movement of goods and services being limited, there could be shortages. An extended lockdown can affect the availability of most other items that are in high demand and a part of our daily lives.
While globalization has made economies more connected and global trade has accelerated, on the flip side, it has facilitated consumers shifting to imported cheap products, which made small and micro industries lose out in the game.
Indeed, the Covid 19 and lockdown season has made us all realize the need to strengthen and boost local manufacturing. If in the post corona days, our farms and land, which are all kept uncultivated, can start growing fruits and vegetables, that will be the best thing to happen to local economies and job creation. If people in each designated area can grow the required quantity of vegetables, fruits and other possible grains and pulses locally, that will be the biggest revolution.
Also, local factories and manufacturers can restart their activities. It is possible that the essential commodities that we consume on a daily basis can be made locally. There was a reservation of products, more than 800 were once reserved for the exclusive manufacturing by the Indian small-scale sector. A list of such items needs to identified once again and should be reserved for the exclusive manufacture of MSMEs. Swadeshi production or local manufacturing must be encouraged. And strengthening local industries has to be undertaken on a priority basis for post corona economic recovery. The time has come for local government bodies like panchayats to begin encouraging local manufacturing and small industries in a big way.
The days post COVID are meant for us to reinvent the relevance of the Charkka or the spinning wheel. It can help turn around the local economies and contribute significantly towards making our lives smoother and finding meaning. The question is: Will we find contentment in making products locally and consuming them? Or will we still look for cheaper imports?