The annual number of cluster projects, which includes common facilities centres (CFCs) and infrastructure development (ID) facilities developed under MSE-CDP scheme had also declined. (Representattional image)

Cluster development programme Scheme of Funds for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), which organises traditional industries and artisans into clusters to boost competitiveness and provide employment, has witnessed a decline in the number of approved clusters, artisans employed, and grant extended in the financial year 2021-20 from the preceding year. According to the available data from the MSME Ministry, the number of approved clusters had contracted to 107 in FY21 from 157 in FY20 after increasing from 68 in FY19. Likewise, the grant provided had jumped from Rs 139 crore in FY19 to Rs 397 crore in FY20 before declining to Rs 321 crore in FY20. The number of artisans employed had also increased from 32,462 in FY19 to 84,171 in FY20 but dropped to 62,408 in FY21.

Number of approved SFURTI clusters

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Source: MSME Ministry

“SFURTIis a very well managed programme. A major chunk of the activity under the scheme is in the construction of common facility centres (CFCs). So while Covid tried its best to cut down the speed, the enthusiasm of the entire team overcame it successfully and in fact reduced the period of CFC creation from over one year to six-nine months. One good indicator of success is how many CFCs have been commissioned. That has increased significantly,” Tamal Sarkar, Executive Director of MSME cluster development body Foundation for MSME Clusters told Financial Express Online.

Comments from the MSME Ministry were not immediately available.

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The number of clusters inaugurated or commissioned in FY21 grew over 5x to 94 from 17 in FY20, the data showed. This included clusters in coir, bamboo craft, stitching and embroidery, handloom, garments, khadi, pottery, furniture, and other areas. Overall since FY16, 146 clusters were inaugurated or commissioned, 401 were approved, Rs 993 crore grant was extended and 2.36 lakh artisans were employed.

Importantly, the annual number of cluster projects, which includes common facilities centres (CFCs) and infrastructure development (ID) facilities developed under the Micro and Small Enterprises- Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP) scheme had also declined. The scheme, which focuses on the creation and up-gradation of infrastructural facilities in the new and existing industrial areas or clusters of micro and small enterprises (MSEs), 68 projects were approved in FY20, down from 74 in FY20, as per data from the MSME Dashboard. Moreover, the number of projects completed had witnessed a decline for the second straight year from 28 in FY19 to 22 in FY20 and 18 in FY21. The MSE-CDP addresses common issues such as improvement of technology, skills, quality, market access, etc. for MSEs and provides grant up to 70 per cent of the cost of the CFC project of a maximum of Rs 20 crore that included cost of land, building, pre-operative expenses, preliminary expenses, machinery and equipment, etc., as per the details on DC MSME portal.

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