2. Dr. D.C. Misra in his welcome address dwelt upon the critical role played by the state-level Corporations in the promotion of first generation entrepreneurs and spread of industrial culture in the rural and backward regions of the States adding that the state-level corporations have recorded an impressive performance in providing financial assistance for promotion and development of small scale, medium scale and cottage industry in their respective States. As on 31st March, 1999 their cumulative sanctions and disbursements aggregated above Rs.45,000 crores and Rs.35,000 crores forming 10.5% and 12% of the total sanctions and disbursements made by all financial institutions in the country respectively. Dr. Misra, further said that their sanctions and disbursements to backward areas formed nearly 48% and 45% of the total respectively. The contribution of small scale sector to the country's economy, Dr. Misra said, in terms of employment generation and value of exports has been significant. As on 31st March, 1999 the number of SSI units in the country was 30.14 lakhs generating employment for 170 lakhs persons. The small scale sector contributes nearly 35% to India's total exports. Such an impressive performance of the small scale sector, Dr. Misra pointed out has been made possible due to the ceaseless efforts of the state-level financial institutions. Dr. Misra also referred to the process of liberalization and financial sector reforms set in motion since 1991 and pleaded that, in view of these developments, the state-level financial institutions, particularly State Financial Corporations, must be provided a level-playing field vis-à-vis the commercial banks and other all-India financial institutions. In this connection, he suggested that the SFCs Act, 1951, should be given a new shape so that the SFCs could enjoy functional autonomy and operational flexibility to face the new challenges posed by the liberalisation process. Shri K.K. Pandey, IAS., Managing Director, Bihar State Financial Corporation, delivered a `vote of thanks' at the conclusion of the function.
3. The Website launched by COSIDICI (URL No. http://www.cosidici.com) contains comprehensive information regarding the promotional and developmental schemes of the state corporations for setting up of industries and could serve as a useful guide to the potential investors from inside and outside the country. It also indicates state-wise investment opportunities and incentives available to the prospective entrepreneurs.