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President of UVIA, Gurgaon, feels that state government does not encourage the growth of SMEs
Udyog Vihar Industries association (UVIA) is the oldest association working in Udyog Vihar Industrial area of Gurgaon. It is currently working with 400 members and looks after a wide spectrum of industries extending from auto components, textiles and apparels, to software and IT companies. We talked to Animesh Saxena, president of UVIA, who takes up various issues of entrepreneurs with relevant government agencies and helps them in resolving those issues.
Question (Q): Udyog Vihar Industries Association (UVIA) have been working for the benefits of the various industrial setups in Gurgaon for a long time. What are your achievements in the field?

Animesh Saxena (AS): We are the oldest association representing approximate 300 industrial units of Udyog Vihar, specially in SME`s. We have taken up all issues related to welfare of industry with all concerned government agencies- be it Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), MCG, Labour, PF and ESI etc. We have conducted joint work shops with these departments to facilitate the approvals processes.

We challenged the unreasonable demand of EDC (External Development Charges) raised by HSIIIDC and got it withdrawn from High Court. This was a major relief. We approached Government and MCG for rationalization of Property taxes for Industrial units. We also persuaded MCG to start providing civic services in Udyog Vihar to reduce maintenance expenses charged by HSIIDC. We got Pollution Control Board to organize camps to issue NOC's without hassles.

Q: Gurgaon has multiple civic bodies (HUDA, MCG etc) – a reason often cited for the ill development of the infrastructure. Also, it creates confusion in the citizens’ mind. Similarly, in the recent past, we have seen emergence of various industrial associations in the city. Infact the city now has approximately seven such associations. Doesn't it harm the common goal where a unified approach is required? Also, a new entrepreneur who is entering the city – how will he make up his mind about which outfit to join?

AS: Industrial area has expanded so much in last few years that it has become difficult for a single Industrial Association to cater to the requirement of industries. Further, there are lot of local issues which an Industrialist face in a day to day working, which requires a local Industrial Association to handle it better. For common issues and big matters we always come under joint forum of all Associations to take it with Government Authorities.

Q: The development of the city of Gurgaon has been a dream story for many states. The growth has come depending on not only the Blue Chip Multinational companies, but also on the various big and small scale manufacturing setups. But in recent days, we do not see much of new companies aspiring to set up businesses in Gurgaon. We see many companies preferring adjoining states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, etc. over Gurgaon. Are we losing the competitive edge gradually? If yes, why?

AS: The cost of land has gone up so high in and around Gurgaon that it has become commercially unviable to put up a new unit/expansion or run an existing unit. Further, labour availability has also gone down in Gurgaon due to high cost of living. State Government policies are also not giving any special benefits to SME's . Of late, labour unrest incidents have also started in Gurgaon which is hurting the image of the city.

Q: There is a huge development of real estate projects happening around Manesar and New Gurgaon area. These projects only become successful when we have more industries thriving in Manesar. But then, the growth of Manesar has always been an incomplete story. The region never really developed the way it was projected to. What exactly is the problem with Manesar?

AS: The biggest problem faced in Manesar is labour availability and commuting of staff. There was no provision made to provide affordable workers housing, which is mandatory for success of any industrial area, which is far from city. Further, no proper public transport was planned for staff commuting. Highways were in bad condition and jams were frequent. Toll was another problem. All these factors created a bad image of Manesar. Further HSIIDC slapped huge demand of Enhancement of all Plots, which has created a big financial burden on the units.

Q: A stiff competition from Bhiwadi - is it a hindrance of growth of SME sectors in Gurgaon?

AS: NO we don`t think so.

Q: Had the Central Government policies been conducive to the growth of small manufacturing setups in Gurgaon? What had always been the pressing issues? What will be your expectations from the Government post election?

AS: Central or State Government never came out with any special treatment for SME's. All the laws, regulations, taxes are the same for them as any Big size units. SME's contribute to 65percent of National GDP but unfortunately Government has never given any special treatment to them. We expect the new Government to recognize the contribution made by this sector. This sector can provide jobs to millions of youth and also create opportunity for new entrepreneurs if treated better in terms liberal Laws and Tax regime.

Q: How do you see the role of the state government toward the growth of SMEs in Gurgaon?

AS: Not very encouraging.

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