Skill, workforce, talent for MSMEs: MSME Technology Centers or TCs (formerly known as Tool Rooms) under the Ministry of MSMEs have started to emerge from their Covid-induced crisis, the total number of trainees trained in 18 TCs during the financial year 2021-22 having recorded an increase of 8%. to 1,44,224 from 1,33,301 in FY21. During the Covid year, the number fell by 51% from the 2,73,437 trainees trained in FY20, according to data from the MSME dashboard. Similarly, aggregate revenue of all TCs also showed a recovery of 11% to Rs 216.66 crore during FY22 from Rs 195.19 crore during FY21 which had declined by 44.3 % from Rs 350.93 crore during FY20.

In addition, the number of MSMEs assisted through 18 TCs also increased slightly by 13.3% to 31,554 units in FY22 from 27,831 units in FY21. The number units assisted in FY20 was 43,762. However, growth in trainees trained, revenue and units assisted in FY22 was still the second lowest in seven years since the fiscal year 16, according to the data.

The 18 TCs are scattered across Kolkata, Ludhiana, Indore, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Jalandhar, Hyderabad, Ramnagar (Uttarakhand), Mumbai, Kannauj (Uttar Pradesh), Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh), Agra (two centers), Meerut and Chennai. Out of 18, 10 TCs provide technological support to MSMEs with the design and manufacture of tools, precision components, moulds, dies, etc. These TCs also provide skilled labor in tool engineering and manufacturing.

The other eight TCs support MSMEs in the sectors of electronics, electrical measuring instruments, perfumes and flavors, glass, footwear and sporting goods, and forging and foundry to develop and update sector-specific technologies, processes and products outside of training. According to the Ministry of MSMEs Annual Report 2021-2022, 76 courses developed in accordance with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) are offered in TCs.

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To augment the network by 18 TCs, the government had launched the Technology Center Systems Program (TCSP) in January 2015 to set up 15 additional TCs with a total cost of Rs 2,200 crore including Rs 20 crore aid from the World Bank. However, only five (Bhiwadi, Pudi, Bhopal, Rohtak and Puducherry) of them have been completed. The program was due to end by FY21.

Work in the proposed new centers in Durg (Chhattisgarh), Baddi (Himachal Pradesh), Kochi, Patna and Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu), Imphal, Bengaluru, Greater Noida and Sitarganj (Uttarakhand) was still being implemented, a MSME Minister Narayan Rane at Rajya Sabha had briefed Rajya Sabha in February this year. At TC Kanpur, the civil infrastructure works have been completed and about 85 percent of the necessary training machines have been installed, the minister said.

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