The newly-constituted Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Board which will play an important role in reviewing policy for the sector has a large contingent of BJP and RSS affiliates. The 46-member board has 26 official members and 20 appointees. The latter are a mix of BJP office-bearers, ex-MLAs from the party and the Laghu Udyog Bharati (LUB), an RSS affiliate.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the 20 appointed members include a BJP MLA, three ex-BJP MLAs or candidates and an ex-MLA from AJSU, the BJP ally in Jharkhand. There are six LUB members on the list, six BJP members, two former FICCI members and another from Gujarat.
The MSME Development Act lays down conditions for the formation of the board. According to Section 3 (l) of the Act, the appointments will be made by the Centre. The section says: "twenty persons to represent the associations of micro, small and midium enterprises, including not less than three persons representing associations of women's enterprises and not less than three persons representing associations of micro enterprises, to be appointed by the Central Government".
The IE report elaborated on the members of the MSME Board, mentioing that it had Kundan Kumar, the BJP MLA from Begusarai in Bihar; Penmetsa Vishnu Kumar Raju, who had contested and won the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Assembly Election from Visakhapatnam North; Yashvir Dagar, a BJP candidate from Haryana in 2014; Pravat Mishra, a BJP hopeful from Cuttack in the 2009 general elections; Teena Sharma, a BJP spokesperson from Delhi and BJP Purvanchal Morcha's Rashmi Mishra.
Others included the BJP Manipur Treasurer, a BJP member from Punjab, LUB president Baldevbhai Govindbhai Prajapati and the LUB secretary and national co-ordinator. The twenty-member list also included Harinder Kaur, former president of the FICCI's women's wing and J.R. Bangera, former president of Karnataka's FICCI wing.
According to the MSME Development Act, the Board will have the MSME minister as its ex officio chairperson with the MoS as the ex officio vice-chairperson. The other 24 members include six state government ministers, three members of Parliament – two from Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha.
It will also include a UT administrator, the MSME Secretary, four other secretaries from commerce and industry, finance, food processing industries, labour and planning, the chairman of the board of a national bank, the chairman of a small industries bank. It will also include the IBA chairman, an RBI official, three eminent persons, two Central Trade Union Organisation representatives and an MSME official not below the Joint Secretary rank.
The IE report mentions that the three eminent persons on the board also seem to have political affiliations. They are Pravin Kumar Agarwal, an industrialist and the BJP president from Siliguri; Utpal Parrikar, the son of late BJP leader and defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Smita Yashwant Ghaisas, an economist who is also the vice-president of the LUB.