Union Minister for MSME Nitin Gadkari addressing the three-day MSME expo at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, said that unemployment is a major challenge and MSMEs must create five crore jobs in five years to address the issue as India aims to become a $5 trillion economy. Currently, MSMEs contribute 29 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and have created 11 crore jobs in recent years. Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of India becoming a $5 trillion economy, Gadkari said MSMEs will have to raise their contribution to GDP to 50 percent and also create five crore more jobs in the next five years to achieve this objective. His first step is increasing the number of MSMEs in India on a sustainable basis through various schemes and programmes. To do this, Gadkari said the ministry is providing better credit facility, technology upgradation, and skilling to boost the entire MSME ecosystem in India. Moreover, he said the government has taken several steps towards addressing key challenges faced by MSMEs, including marketing of their products and ensuring timely payments. Highlighting that ecommerce firm Alibaba had a major role in China’s economic growth, Gadkari said the MSME ministry has signed an agreement with the Government e-Market (GeM) portal under the commerce ministry to establish India’s new ecommerce marketing portal. The new portal may be named ‘Bharatcraft’, he said, adding that the online platform will be of the scale of Amazon and Alibaba. The government, he added, has set a target for the proposed portal to achieve a turnover of at least Rs 10 lakh crore in the next two years. To ensure timely payments to MSMEs and prevent erosion of their working capital, Gadkari said the government is “seriously exploring” if it can bring a legislation to ensure payments within 45 days of supplying a product. The minister said he has spoken to global multilateral lending agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and KfW to see if the cost of capital can be brought down for the MSME sector. With a vision to enable global economic growth through Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) partnership, MSME Development Forum had organized the 6th edition of ‘India International MSME & Start-up Expo-2019’ and ‘Laghu Udyog Vyapar Mela’ at Pragati Maidan from August 23-25, 2019 in New Delhi. MSME Development Forum works as a catalyst between Central/State Governments, Business Community and budding young entrepreneurs for policy making & successful implementation of Government’s initiatives like Skill India, Make in India, Digital India, Start-Up India and Stand-Up India, Smart Cities etc. by organizing Expos, Trade Fairs, Summits, Meets, Conferences, Seminars, Roadshows and Workshops.