Many incentives are provided both by the central and state governments to promote the growth of small-scale industries and also to protect them from the onslaught of the largescale sector. Among the various incentives given to small-scale industries the following deserve special mention:
1. Reservation: To protect the small-scale industries from the competition posed by largescale industries, the Government has reserved the production of certain items exclusively for the small-scale sector. The number of items exclusively reserved for the small-scale sector has been considerably increased during the Five Year Plan Periods and now stands at 822. However, prior to the 1997-98 budget the number of items reserved for the small- scale sector stood at 836. The Finance Minister dereserved 14 items in the 1997-98 budget.
2. Preference in Government Purchases: The government as well as government Organizations shows preference in procuring their requirements from the small- scale sector. For instance, the Director General of Supplies and Disposals purchases 400 items exclusively from the small-scale sector. The National Small-Scale Industries Corporation assists the SSI units in obtaining a greater share of government and defense purchases.
3. Price Preference: The SSI units are given price preference up to a maximum of 15 per cent in respect of certain items purchased both from small-scale and large- scale units.
4. Supply of Raw Materials: In order to ensure regular supply of raw materials, imported components and equipment’s, the Government gives priority allocation to the small-scale sector as compared to the large-scale sector. Further, the Government has liberalised the import policy and streamlined the distribution of scarce raw materials.
5. Excise Duty: In respect of SSI units excise duty concessions are granted to both registered and unregistered units on a graded scale depending upon their production value. Full exemption is granted up to a production value of Rs 30 lakhs in a year and 75 % of normal duty is levied for production value exceeding Rs 30 lakhs but not exceeding Rs 75 lakhs. If the production value exceeds Rs 75 lakhs, normal rate of duty will be levied. ‘
6. RBI’s Credit Guarantee Scheme: In 1960, the RBI introduced a Credit Guarantee Scheme for small-scale industries. As per the scheme, the RBI takes upon itself the role of a guarantee organisation for the advances which are left unpaid, including interest overdue and recoverable charges. This scheme covers not only working capital but also advances provided for the creation of fixed capital.
7. Financial Assistance: Small-scale industries are brought under the priority sector. As a result, financial assistance is provided to SSI units at concessional terms by commercial banks and other financial institutions. With a view to providing more financial assistance to the small scale sector, several schemes have been introduced in the recent past. The Small Industries Development Fund (SIDF) in 1986, National Equity Fund (NEF) in 1987 and the Single Window Scheme (SWS) in 1988. SIDF provides refinance assistance to small scale and cottage and village industries and the tiny sector in rural areas. NEF provides equity type support to small entrepreneurs for setting up new projects in the tiny/small-scale sector. In 1996, the small-scale sector received 42.3 per cent of the total priority sector advances from public sector banks.
8. Technical Consultancy Services: The Small Industries Development Organisation, through its network of service and branch institutes, provides technical consultancy services to SSI units. In order to provide the necessary technical input to rural industries, a Council for Advancement of Rural Technology was set up in October, 1982. The Technical Consultancy Organisation renders consultancy services to SSI units at a subsidised rate. Many financial institutions are also providing subsidies to SSI units for availing of consultancy services. For instance, small entrepreneurs proposing to set up rural, cottage, tiny or small-scale units, can get consultancy services at a low cost from the Technical Consultancy Organizations approved by the All-India and State-level financial institutions. They have to pay only 20% of the fees charged by a Technical Consultancy Organisation. The entire balance of 80% or Rs 5, 000 whichever is lower is subsidized by the Industrial Finance Corporation of India.
9. Machinery on Hire Purchase Basis: The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) arranges supply of machinery on hire purchase basis to SSI units, including ancillaries located in backward areas which qualify for investment subsidy. The rate of interest charged in respect of technically qualified persons and entrepreneurs coming from backward areas are less than the amount charged to others. The earnest money payable by technically qualified persons and entrepreneurs from backward areas is 10% as against 15% in other cases.
10. Transport Subsidy: The Transport Subsidy Scheme, 1971 envisages grant of a transport subsidy to small-scale units in selected areas to the extent of 75 % of the transport cost of raw materials which are brought into and finished goods which are taken out of the selected areas.
11. Training Facilities: The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Financial Institutions, Commercial banks, Technical Consultancy organizations, and NSIC provide training to existing and potential entrepreneurs.
12. Marketing Assistance: The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), the Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) and the various Export Promotion Councils help SSI emits in marketing their products in the domestic as well as foreign markets. The SIDO conducts training programmes on export marketing and organises meetings and seminars on export promotion.
13. District Industries Centers (DICs): The 1977 Industrial Policy Statement introduced the concept of DICs. Accordingly a DIC is set up in each district. The DIC provides and arranges a package of assistance and facilities for credit guidance, supply of raw materials, marketing etc.