Setback for Maharashtra SMEs as Traditional Manufacturing Hubs Fade Away

by December 30, 2015 0 comments

The online industry has achieved massive penetration in India over the past few years. There is an easy availability of different variety of goods. E-commerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal have evolved to a higher extent but the biggest drawback is buying medicine online. Online medicine is the need of the hour as various foreign medicines are not available in the shops.

Bipin Shah, President of TBIA, explained the overall picture in detail and gave his opinion about the business priorities of the SMEs.

The Challenges

One of the challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry is the proliferation of online medicine stores. Most of the physical stores are closed after 9pm, so people in rural areas are deprived of having proper medicine even if they can afford it. As per Drug and Cosmetics Act, online medicine cannot be permitted because before delivering the medicine the supplier needs to have original prescription. In India, people are not still aware of this. Many rural and semi-urban shops complain that they do not have the capability to have ample software to store all the necessary documents and prescription. They want the government to provide loans to procure computers. If that is achieved, then online medicine can be managed smoothly.


Bipin Shah President, Thane Belapur Industries Association

Dealing with the Hurdles

In order to tackle these challenges, we are waiting for the drug controller, Government of India to amend the Drug and Cosmetic Act so that the email prescription is permitted instead of original prescription. The point is that even if the shops receive original prescription through email they cannot give medicine on the basis of a scanned copy. Moreover, government must ensure that every rural and semi-urban medical shop must have computers and sufficient software to store all the details of the patients.

Policies Rolled Out by Government and Possible Expectation

As of now there are no special benefits provided to SME industries although we generate highest employment and serve ancillary industry to large companies. We expect the following from the government.

Concessional rate of interest for fix capital and working capital
Subsidy for the first 3 years
Sales-tax deferral and exemption from income tax for the first 5 years
IT Usages and the Overall Impact

IT in pharmaceutical sector is substantial; however there’s always a possibility to increase its integration. Our industry members comprise of SME and large industries. We also have several IT parks in our area. The level of IT usage is quite high. The pharmacy industry serves Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 citizen townships and development of IT facility in Tier 2 and Tier 3 is very less due to which we are not able to pass on the benefits to the patients.

We have integrated our factory, our head office, and our R&D lab by using IT. It is also useful for MIS systems. We expect IT vendors to be cost effective so that the industry implementation can be achieved at a faster rate.

Key Activities of the Association

Thane-Belapur Industry Association has about 700 members, out of which 550 members are from SME’s. It is a premier association in Navi Mumbai and Thane-Belapur industrial belt. The main activities of the association are to help members solve their problems with government and semi-government departments. Even we train various SME belts with our IT teams and other employees for their overall benefits. We teach them about their profit margins, business priorities and also about the modern equipments that can help them craft better products in lesser time.

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