Policy Brief: Indian small business and the SDGs

Indian SMEs as the engine of green development

Indian Smes And Sdgs
Photo: Development Alternatives

Our latest Policy Brief comes from our partners in India, Development Alternatives, and finds that it may not be possible for India to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or its commitments under the Paris Agreement unless it takes action to deal with increasing trends of jobless growth and serious concerns of environmental degradation.

It is estimated that, in order to provide sufficient employment opportunities for its growing population, India will need to add 15 million new jobs annually for the next 15 years. Failure to do so may leave millions in poverty, with 58% of the population currently lacking the means to meet essential needs. 

However, providing new jobs and bringing Indians out of poverty must not be bought at the price of environmental destruction. A growing population and increasing urbanisation have led to a huge increase in consumption demands, posing a serious threat to the sustainability of India's impressive economic growth.

if these twin poles of development and environmental protection are to be achieved, India's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will clearly have an important role to play. With government initiatives such as Make in India and Startup India promoting manufacturing and young entrepreneurship, the role of SMEs - especially rural social enterprises – as an agent for local economic development has come into focus. 

This policy brief explores how India can best make use of the entrepreneurial spirit of its millions of small business owners, while promoting green and sustainable practices that will safeguard the Indian environment for future generations.