"The Government has introduced an amendment to the Apprenticeship Act. We need to find ways to encourage the MSME organisations to engage apprentices. The power of this idea is huge.
    
"If each of the 44 million MSME organisations engages one apprentice each year for the next eight years, the target of 500 million would easily be achieved. The MSME sector could be looked at as Maximum Skillers Major Employers," said Sarbananda Sonowal, minister of state for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship at the Mega MSME Summit cum Fair.
    
Saying that MSMEs play a pivotal role in the overall industrial economy of India, the Minister said that there are 44 million MSMEs in the country accounting for almost 90 per cent of the workforce in the non farm sector and more than 80 per cent of the total number of industrial enterprises in India.
    
He said in terms of value, the sector accounts for 45 per cent of the manufacturing output and 40 per cent of the total export of the country and employs over six crore people.
    
He rued about the fact that the number of local entrepreneurs being created every year in India is very low.
    
"According to a World Bank study on Entrepreneurship in 2010 which compares the new business registration density of South Asian countries with the rest of the world, it was found that contrary to popular belief, India has too few entrepreneurs for its stage of development, even compared to countries such as Thailand, Brazil and Malaysia," he said.
    
He said some critical factors that affect overall entrepreneurship are education and skill levels, quality of local physical infrastructure, household banking quality, business environment and investment climate.
    
He said that the 31 Sector Skill Councils set up by the National Skill Development Corporation are in the process of developing a number of standards for different job roles.

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