In terms of businesses, Kanpur has over 7,000 SMEs across various industries like leather, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food processing, packaging, industrial engineering and automobiles, among others. In 2011-12, the annual turnover of the businesses in Kanpur was over Rs. 34,000 crore, and Rs. 6,500 crore was collected as tax revenue from the region.
The city provides employment to 3.5 lakh people, of which about 2.25 lakh employees work in the organized sector and 1.25 lakh in the unorganized sector.
Kanpur has some renowned businesses, with leading brands like Red Tape, Allen Cooper, Pan Parag, Ghari Detergent, Ashok Masala, LML Scooters and Jyoti Laboratories.
Commenting on the local issues and challenges, Manmohan Rajpal, Chairman, Kanpur Chapter, Indian Industries Association, emphasized that industries in Kanpur are struggling to get adequate basic infrastructure to run their businesses successfully. “The most sought-after requirements for us are to get better power supply and better road transport facilities for our businesses. Another big challenge that we are facing in Kanpur is the non-availability of unskilled labour. Our production cycle gets badly affected due to these challenges,” states Rajpal.
On the positive side, skilled manpower is easily available, and businesses are showing an interest in the area of technology adoption, Rajpal says.
The Kanpur Chapter of the Indian Industries Association has over 1,200 member companies, representing diverse industry segments.
Representing the plastic industry, which is Kanpur’s second largest business segment after leather, Sunil Vaish, owner of Falcon Industries, says, “We have around ten industrial areas in Kanpur, which have an assured 24-hour power supply. However, the reality is far different from what is been written in documents. We hardly get 12 to 13 hours of power supply during the summers, and unscheduled power cuts are a regular feature here. Electricity transformers are not well maintained, and there is no proper monitoring of the output quality.”
Entrepreneurs from the plastic industry want a dedicated business cluster for themselves, says Vaish. “Since a long time, we have been trying to get land from the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) for a dedicated plastic industry cluster but, unfortunately, we are witnessing non-cooperation from the agency. We have, though, formed a group of plastic companies, and are working as a cluster. We have engaged a consultant, who regularly shares expertise on waste control and optimizing the efficiency of our production cycles. This initiative could have been better if we had got support from the UPSIDC.”
Talking about businesses in the leather industry in Kanpur, Anil Gupta, owner of Prachi Leathers, states, “In our industry, environmental norms are stringent, and need to be followed at any cost. However, there is no reality check on this. For example, we have a common effluent treatment plan, which caters to several SMEs in the leather segment in the region. The capacity of this plant is quite low as compared to the actual requirement. This needs to be checked. Proper monitoring on a regular basis is very much needed. Entrepreneurs too must adhere to the requirements, and follow the guidelines honestly.”
Gupta’s company exports leather shoes to the US, Italy, Germany, Canada and other countries. Similarly, Kanpur has plenty of firms that are operate on a global scale, and enjoy great credibility internationally.
The city has high regards for its business capabilities and products. The credit for the city’s high reputation and credibility at a global level largely goes to the entrepreneurs, who strive hard to make a positive impact in the market. No matter what the local challenges, no matter how tough business conditions are, the entrepreneurs from this part of the world will continue to grow, with this positive attitude towards business.