Business Bureau :
VED recently organised a SME Conference. A panel discussions on various topics were conducted. Rina Sinha, Project Leader, Executive Committee Member of VED Council moderated the panel discussion expertly on topics ‘Opportunities in logistics and warehousing by K. Sathianathan, Managing Director of DL Infra, ‘Opportunities in in-bound tourism’ by Vilas Kale, Managing Director of Cenin Tours & Travels, ‘Patents and new ideas’ by Ajinkya Kottawar, Founder, Dnyan Foundation and Agri-innovations and ‘Innovations in packaging’ by Dr Dinesh Kumar, Principal Scientist, ICAR Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur. In his speech, K. Sathianathan said, logistics needs a whole lot of organisations to work together, including IT. There are overall opportunities of over $ 4.7 trillion and this continues to grow. There are various elements to it, but mainly shipping.
The Indian logistics market is good too, but costly due to inefficiency, so SMEs can enter here. Organised logistics in India contributes only 12 per cent, so SMEs have a lot of scope in in-bound and out-bound management, fleet management, warehousing, material handling, logistics network design, inventory management, supply/demand planning, third-party logistics services etc. Big companies take long with services, so small companies can fill the gap and play a role. “With GST, halts at various states has come to an end, the time taken has reduced, so costs should come down too.
Limits are set for the services sector than in manufacturing; Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari, said the limits would be raised. Are we ready to walk that extra mile? Costs are not very high, but we have to involve IT and take all the efforts. Distribution centres with proper systems in place, could be areas for SMEs to enter. This is a sunrise sector. Logistics costs have to come down to keep pace with the international market.” Sathianathan said, VED could play a major role for dissemination of knowledge. SMEs must always be up on information, currently updated and innovate continuously. Logistics was more of hardware earlier, now it’s more sophisticated.
“We must maintain the sanctity of the product in shipment, delivering, and handling. Regarding improper handling, you have a right to claim which would take months.” Vilas Kale, Managing Director of Cenin Tours & Travels, said “Tourism comprises almost 9 per cent of our economy but Vidarbha has not been explored. For money to come, we have to create experiences, including cultural experiences, and the local people have to create these.” He suggested a few measures that could be taken to attract tourism here is that for Kachargarh caves a cable-car could be set up, eco-friendly resorts in Patalkot, world-class water-sports at Gosikhurd, rope-way at Chikhaldara and Mahadev in Pachmarhi, hot-air balloon over Pench and Tadoba tiger reserves, and a water-body like in Sironcha can also be explored. There are opportunities to start fixed AC bus services for weekends on circuits like Wardha, Anandwan-Warora, Centre for Science for villages, Lonar crator, Nagzira, from there is also very easy access to MP sites. Dinesh Kumar, Principal Scientist in ICAR- Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur, working in all aspects of post-harvest and processing technologies said, “Mechanised packing line is a very important process as we don’t touch the fruit by hand at all.”
He said, India has the largest production of lac, but we are importing wax for fruits to increase their shelf-life and improve their looks.” He invited the people to their institute saying that they could give whatever technology they have. Ajinkya Kottawar, founder & President of Dnyan Foundation, Nagpur a NGO dedicated to practical learning of students. Working and Director (R&D) at Softsense Technoserve (INDIA), an ISO 9001:2015 certified institution also working on advance solar technology and water conservation for Vidarbha. He has been working with educationalist and Ramon Magsaysay award 2018 winner Sonam Wangchuk of Ladakh (and 3 Idiots fame) for development in practical learning for school education system.