New Delhi, Jan 14 : Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) want the finance minister to have a separate pre-budget meeting to assess their needs and not club them with the industry which is dominated by large corporations.

"Earlier, the finance ministry used to hold a separate session with the small-scale industry sector. But this practice has been discontinued since 2004 and the ministry now holds one single pre-budget session for industry where the majority of the people invited are representatives of large corporate groups," said the Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) Saturday.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already begun the pre-budget meetings and met several stakeholders, including agriculturists and economists during the week. He is scheduled to meet the industry Jan 31.

"The MSME's sector whose interests are often vastly different from those of big industry contribute nearly half of India's manufacturing output and exports and employs the most people after agriculture," said V.K. Agarwal, FISME president.

"The government has already recognised the need for a specialised approach for ensuring growth and development of the MSME sector. It is for this reason that there is not only a separate ministry for the MSME sector but also a separate legislation for ensuring their development," Agarwal added.

There are an estimated 30-35 million small and medium enterprises operating in the country.

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