A Small Business - An Avenue of Self Employment


Prof. M.B. Rao
Faculty Member
Prof. J.N. Panda
Senior Faculty
Department of Commerce
P.N. Autonomous College


The economic condition of the people of Orissa is very poor as about 48 percent of the population resides below the poverty line. Despite being the state is endowed with plenty of natural resources, the people of Orissa are reeling under dire poverty. In rural areas unemployment prevails in disguise in agricultural sector. Rural people have poor resource base, low level of capacity, limited access to financial and other support services. They do not have enough opportunities around them to utilize their limited skill and resources. At this backdrop the encouragement of establishment of Micro-Enterprises is a very welcome step for the public sector as well as the NGOs.

A small business is normally a single owner operated business, started with or without any employee with as little capital as possible. It also takes the name of Micro-Enterprise in the modern business terminology which means a term that refers to the countless tiny businesses begun by the poor in the cities, towns, and villages. Known by economists as the "informal economic sector", these micro enterprises play a major and crucial role in both rural and urban areas. The promoters of these micro - enterprises often work alone or with unpaid family members and cater to the needs of their neighbours and communities.

This article is organized in six sections. This section introduces the topic and describes the contents of the article. The second section depicts the main objectives of the study. The third one is about the Government policies of with regard to the Micro-Enterprises. The next section involves the role of NGO's in the Micro-Enterprise development in Orissa. The fifth section denotes some of the problems arising in the growth and development of the Micro Enterprises in the state and the last section brings the conclusion of the study with some recommendations.


The study involves the following main objectives

1. To make a study of the Government policies towards the Micro-Enterprises.
2. To make a study of the role of NGO's in the promotion of Micro-Enterprises.
3. To make a study of various problems of the micro-business in Orissa
4. To draw the conclusion on the basis of the study and to make some suggestions.


All the self-employment programmes - Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women & Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Supply of Improved Tool Kits to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) and Million Wells Scheme (MWS) were merged into one self-employment programme - Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SSGSY). The programme aims at establishing a large number of micro-enterprises in the rural areas to provide sustainable income to the rural poor. A new scheme - Credit-cum-Subsidy Scheme has come into operation w.e.f. April 1, 1999 to facilitate construction of houses for rural families with income up to Rs. 32,000 annually and who have some repayment capacity. Moreover, to encourage the use of cost-effective, environment friendly and scientifically tested and proven indigenous and modern designs, a scheme called Innovative Stream for Rural Housing and Habitat Development has been launched w.e.f. April 1, 1999. The programme of Kisan Credit Cards is progressing very well. Cooperative Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Commercial Banks together have so far issued more than 50 lakh cards and card-cum-pass books to the farmers.

The Role of NGO's in Micro-Enterprise Development

(a) Orissa Organic Farming Network1 

The NGO has undertaken few blocks of Orissa with the objectives of reducing food and livelihood insecurity in the state of Orissa, through sustainable farming methods focusing especially on drought and disaster prone regions, where the majority of indigenous people live. Major objectives of the institution is to assist small farmers/gardeners in forming mutual assistance groups to conduct trials on various crops, techniques and management approaches   - to aware farmers and consumers about the hazards associated with use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc and try out alternative paste management approaches   - to promote gardening and tree planting among school children.

(b) PRADAN2 (Professional Assistance for Development Action)

It was established in 1983 with the mission of working in rural areas, with socio-economically disadvantaged communities, such as adivasis, scheduled castes, the landless and marginal and small cultivators. It undertakes small scale irrigation; better upland husbandry, the preparation of siali leaf plate and promotion of women's savings and credit groups in KBK districts, Boudh and Kandhamals in Orissa.

(c) BISWA3 (Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency)

BISWA enjoys the credit in successfully providing self employment to more then 4500 entrepreneurs and employment to more then 500 wage earners along with creation of indirect employment opportunities for a population of more then 16000 in the rural sector with major focus on agri-horticulture, promotion of handicrafts, encouraging petty business. The support of the friends from USA, the Government of India and the Government of Orissa has made it possible along with the formal financial institutions that have extended credit facilities in pursuance of the income generating activities adopted by the entrepreneurs.


Vikash has promoted the use of bio-fertilizers on a large scale. It promotes Azolla which is an aquatic fern that multiplies asexually and is useful for paddy cultivation. It also reduces weed growth, improves soil texture, maintains moisture level and increases crop yield etc. Vikash is taking up many innovative initiatives for developing micro-enterprise schemes including research, training, consultancy, exposure visits and field guidance. It has undertaken the construction of alternative cost-effective houses for the poor, production and marketing of organic fertilizer, promotion of Micro-Finance institution under the name "Krushak Nidhi" for the betterment of poor in the form of a federation of Self Help Groups.

Problems of Micro-Enterprises in Orissa

The Micro-Enterprise system suffers from the following problems in Orissa

* There is very low level of technology.
* There is very little coordination among the development actors.
* The Micro- Enterprise Network suffers from very low level of information communication among various stakeholders of development.
* The Micro-Entrepreneurs have very little knowledge about scope of the product marketing.
* Very little or non-existence of Small & Micro Enterprises (SME) poses hindrances in the way of development and growth of Micro-Enterprise.
* Small businesses have a little scope of getting industry association.

Summary and Conclusion of the Study

Credit and other enterprise development services can play a significant role in providing the basic necessities of life to the poor by strengthening their livelihood options. The NGOs and the Government of Orissa should extend their co-operation to make the dream a real one. On the basis of the study the following suggestions may be given

* Local institutions may be developed through promotion of SHGs to take care of the needy and poor people.
* Technology up gradation should be made through skill development of artisans.
* A Network of communication should be developed among artisans
* Above all there is the need of establishment and strengthening of Small & Micro Enterprises among Minority Communities.


1. Islam, R. (1996). "Policy Environment for Small and Micro Enterprises in a Period of Economic Liberalisation: An Overview of the Asian Scenario" in R. Islam (Ed) (1996).

2. Kumar, Anil (2000). "World Trade Organisation Agreement: Its Impact on Small Scale Sector" in Laghu Udyog Samachar, vol. XXIV (6-8), Jan - March, 2000, pp. 28-39

3. Tendulkar, S.D. and T.A. Bhavani (1997). "Policy on Modern Small Scale Industries: A Case of Government Failure" in the Indian Economic Review, vol. 32, no.1, January-June, pp. 39-64

4. Bhavani, T.A. (2001). Small-scale Units in the Era of Globalisation: Problems and Prospects. Discussion Paper Series No. 41/2001

5. Work shop on Micro-Enterprise Development-(Dec. 30,2006)- The Hindu

6. http://www.drcsc.org/scmain.html

7. Mohanty Aliva, - Women in Management of Micro-enterprises: Problems and Prospects.

1. Orissa Organic Farming Network is a project of Kolkata based NGO - DRCSC
2. PRADAN is a Delhi based NGO.
3. BISWA is a Sambalpur(Orissa) based NGO
4. Vikash is a Bhubaneswar based NGO

Prof. M.B. Rao
Faculty Member
Prof. J.N. Panda
Senior Faculty
Department of Commerce
P.N. Autonomous College

Source: E-mail March 1, 2007


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