The Hindustan Times Mint SME Summit, which was hosted by Hindustan Times along with National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), Aveya Global Connect Ltd., Global Trade Finance Ltd. (GTF), Tata Telecom, SMERA and SAP, was held in Hotel Crown Plaza, New Delhi (India) on 21st February 2007. Sandip Ghose, Head New Ventures, Hindustan Times Media Ltd, delivered the welcome note, where he informed about IT’s (information technology) positive role in transforming not only big but also small and medium enterprises. He asked for enabling policies on the part of government to provide incentives to SMEs for usage of IT. Jawahar Sircar, Additional Secretary and Development Commissioner (SSI), informed that the number of SMEs is around 12.4 million headcount-wise in India, which include village and cottage industry, micro and small industry. He said that the total number of registered companies is 0.9 million which is miniscule. He said that some of the vision of Government of India is archaic in terms of providing protection instead of promoting them to become competitive at the global level. He informed the audience about the National Manufacturing Competitive Council (NMCC), Limited Liability Partnership Bill, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Bill and OP Bhatt and Gupta Committees Report, which are oriented to strengthen the SME sector. Soum Mukherjee, Director, Aveya Global Connect Ltd., informed that SME contribute to a fair chunk of the GDP, and industrial output. IT usage could help SMEs in doing better business, with cost efficiency, he said. During the first session, HP Kumar, Chairman, NSIC informed about the India’s Finance Minister’s decision about increasing lending support to the SMEs by twice. He welcomed the credit guaranty fund to support SMEs. He informed about the credit linked capital subsidy scheme of the government. Rajesh Dubey, CEP SMERA, said that credit rating helps in cost efficiency and innovation to be undertaken by SMEs, and helps the bank to go for less riskier lending venture, provided the credit rating is done in a scientific way. J Ahluwalia, Head, Business Development, GTF, informed about Exim Bank of India’s financial solutions to the SMEs. During the second session, Anirudh Kalia, GM-SME, Tata Teleservices, talked about SMEs’ potential in transforming Indian economy. He said that companies, which have registered could go to the stock exchange to raise capital. He also informed about the various IT-based products and services, which Tata Teleservices is offering to Indian SMEs. He said that IT or Internet-enabled environment helps in fast decision-making by the SMEs as this leads to mobility. Deb Deep Sengupta, Vice President–Mid Markets and Channels, SAP India, said that service providers could provide various kinds of IT enabled services to raise the productivity of the SMEs. Amit Gupta, CEO, S Chand and Company, talked on how usage of IT by the SMEs raises productivity of the sector in particular and the economy in general. He mentioned about product, leadership, operational excellence and customer relationship, which SMEs look at while using IT-based solutions. He said that SMEs have to be good decision-makers, planners and strategy-makers regarding the type of technology, which it is adopting. He informed how technology has changed the face of mankind from the days of industrial revolution to the post-Fordist era. Rajiv Chawla, President, Faridabad Small Industries Association, mentioned about the need for best manufacturing practices in the SME sector. He emphasized on innovation, design development and validation by the SMEs in the face of globalisation and rapid technological advancement, to stay afloat during competition. He said that instead of IT use being limited to accounting or some in-house activities, there is need to use IT to look at inventories and capacity utilisation. He also mentioned about TQM, TPM, 6 sigma, benchmarking ISO et al for effective standardisation of the SMEs. He added that the framework has to move beyond built to print to art to part, where ERP (enterprise resource planning) has a possible role. The emphasis should be not only on cost efficiency and quality, but also on speed and innovation. He asked for investing in youth for the IT sector to sustain and the key role entrepreneurs can play to bring change. The sessions were moderated by Josey John, National Coordination Editor, Mint (promoted by the Wall Street Journal).