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Published on Dec 19, 2012
An estimated 42 million persons in India depend on SMEs for their living, the second largest employer in the country after agriculture. Economic reforms have provided SMEs with flexibility to take decisions on technology, location, size of investment, etc. It has also created a competitive market environment pushing Indian industry to improve quality and achieve cost efficiency. With competition in the air, thinning gross margins, reducing product life cycle, buyers' insistence on compliance with codes of conduct, SMEs today have to continually upgrade their productivity. The ILO's SCORE (or Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises) programme supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has been working with the Government of India, social partners and cluster-level industry associations in India to build the capacity of the SMEs to modernize management practices, develop workforce and adopt good workplace practices. In India, SCORE presently focusses on the light engineering industry which is estimated at $ 7 billion and engages a workforce of around 4 million persons. SCORE demonstrates that people are at the heart of competitive enterprises and counters the myth that better working conditions are too costly for businesses. This film presents the stories of a few SMEs in India who due to SCORE trainings have been able to reduce the costs of doing business, boost competitiveness and most importantly enhance their market reputation by improving the social and environmental impact of their operations.