ODOP helped UP’s exports rise 38% in last 3 yrs
Navneet Sehgal, Additional Chief Secretary, Information, MSME, Export Promotion, Khadi & Village Industry, Govt of Uttar Pradesh, explains how the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme has boosted prospects for MSMEs of Uttar Pradesh, delivering results even in the difficult pandemic period.
IBT: What is your opinion on the launch of the One District One Product scheme and how is it being implemented in the state of Uttar Pradesh?
Navneet Sehgal: Uttar Pradesh has numerous cities and districts that have traditional crafts and industry but there has not been much emphasis in terms of enhancing their domestic consumption or exports. International experience suggests that the industry has benefited from clusters because of the volumes in terms of skilled manpower availability, obtainability of raw material and so forth. UP has been fortunate in the sense that we have many cities, which already had these clusters. But there was no focused approach to see these as clusters, understand their problems, try to solve their issues and help them to develop as a cluster.
To resolve this issue, the UP government has appointed professional agencies, including PwC, Asian World Bank and EY to do a SWOT analysis for each product in each district. This is important in identifying issues, which are coming in the way of the raw material availability, skilled manpower availability, finance availability, technology availability, marketing, packaging, and so on. Accordingly, hard and soft interventions are being made, depending on whatever is required. (Hard in terms of creating infrastructure and soft in terms of guiding them w.r.t. design, packaging, etc. to add value to the product.) So, a district action plan for each district for each product has been chalked out. The plan also has strategies to boost exports of these products.
IBT: How have different districts performed under the ODOP scheme? Can you please share with us in brief about any successful case study in this regard?
Navneet Sehgal: Some of the districts which have a history of being famous for some products, are responding better than the products where there is less awareness. But there are quite a few success stories. They’re getting a grant under the Common Facility Center.
A very classic case is of a place called Sambhal, famous for developing buttons from animal bones. These buttons were previously sent to China for final finishing and then exported. So, a machine was arranged for them at a Common Facility Center. This reduced the dependency on China, saved costs & enhanced the quality of the product.
Similarly, in Moradabad district, a new technology called CBD has been introduced at two Common Facility Centers to color the metals in any color. The government is also providing financial grant to bring about these changes.
IBT: What are you doing to make sure that the beneficiaries of the ODOP scheme produce products of world class quality?
Navneet Sehgal: The UP government has tied up with the Indian Institute of Packaging. It also has an MOU with the Quality Council of India, and an agreement with NIFT. The government is also doing an agreement with the National Institute of Design. Agreements with these technical institutions help craftsmen and artisans to easily grasp knowledge pertaining to technology, design and packaging. We are also giving tools to almost 30,000 people every year. This enables them to bring them up to the international level of packaging and designing.
There are some other interventions too. Agra, for example, is a successful exporter of footwear today. But until some time back, a lot of shoes exported from the city were getting rejected in Europe. This is because they did not have a European level accreditation. However, a lab has been established in Agra and monetary support was also given for the same. This lab helps them to get the product certified here only and export only those certified products. This intervention has led to positive results.
IBT: What is being done/can be done to promote the exports of these goods?
Navneet Sehgal: The UP government has made efforts to augment their presence on many of e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay by signing MoUs with these institutions. This enables their products to be represented on these online channels of sales. In order to boost the exports of these goods, the government is also negotiating a pact with Amazon Global. And we have also got our own e-commerce platform for ODOP. All these initiatives have helped us to increase our exports by 38% in the last three years. In addition to this, the district action plan for each region has an export strategy.
IBT: What difficulties is the government facing in terms of enhancing the online presence of these products & how are they being resolved?
Navneet Sehgal: Many of the medium and large ones are already on board, but the smaller companies are sometimes reluctant to be on board. They face issues regarding GST, for example. So, a corporation has been set up to act as an aggregator. This government body is looking into these issues and this has helped bring more small entrepreneurs online.
IBT: How can investments be enhanced to promote the ODOP scheme?
Navneet Sehgal: Many countries have models similar to ODOP. For example, Thailand has One Tambon One Product. Through these programs, they are also promoting their products internationally. The government of UP is also endorsing MSMEs in the state by putting up shops and stalls at various airports to raise awareness and generate demand for these products. Many artisans are also being sent abroad to take part in various exhibitions around the world. Their stay is financed by the government. They have received an encouraging response due to all these measures.
IBT: What challenges did the pandemic create in the effective implementation of the scheme last year? How did you overcome them? Is the situation different this time around?
Navneet Sehgal: Last year, because of the adversity, we did innovation and we had put everything online. This helped us a lot in terms of training, toolkits, financing ODOP units from banks. Our performance last year was a record.
This time around the state is in partial lockdown but manufacturing is still going on. We hope to perform even better.
Navneet Sehgal is a 1988 batch IAS officer who is also a chartered accountant. He is currently serving as Additional Chief Secretary, Information, MSME, Export Promotion, Khadi & Village Industry, Govt of Uttar Pradesh. In the past, he has served as secretary to the CM. He has also handled several key departments such as State Urban Development Authority, Urban Development, Estate Department (which handles all government properties) & Energy. He was also the chairman/MD of UP Power Corporation Ltd and CMD of the State Industrial Development Authority. Views expressed are personal.