• Sick industrial unit is defined as a unit or a company (having been in existence for not less than five years) which is found at the end of any financial year to have incurred accumulated losses equal to or exceeding its entire net worth.


External Factors:

The following are some of the external factors causing industrial sickness in India:

(i) General Recessionary Trend:

Sometimes a general depression hits industrial units. This is reflected in lack of demand for industrial products in general. An overall slowdown in economic activities affects the performance of individual projects. Improper demand estimation for the products to project lands the industrial units in difficulties.

(ii) High Prices of Inputs:

When the costs of manufacture are high and sales realisation low, the industrial unit cannot stand in the market. This happens when the prices of inputs such as price of fuel such as petroleum during energy crisis goes up whereas the competitive forces keep down the prices of the products.

(iii) Non-Availability of Raw Materials:

When the supplies of raw materials are not available regularly or in good quality, the industrial units are bound to be in trouble. This often occurs in case of supply of imported raw materials.

(iv) Changes in Government Policies:

The industrial sickness is also caused by certain changes in policy designs of the government. These frequent changes affect the long-term production, financial and marketing planning of an industrial unit. Changes in Government policies regarding imports, industrial licensing, taxation can make viable units sick. For example, liberal import policy since 1991 has rendered many small-scale industrial units sick.

(v) Infrastructure Bottlenecks:

Often the infrastructure difficulty is responsible for industrial sickness. No industrial unit can survive prolonged transport and power bottlenecks.

Internal Factors:

The following are the important internal factors which are often responsible for industrial sickness:

(i) Project Appraisal Deficiencies:

The industrial unit becomes sick when the unit has been launched without a comprehensive appraisal of economic, financial and technical viabilities of the project.

(ii) Industrial Unrest and Lack of Employee Motivation:

When there is labour discontent, no industrial unit can function smoothly and efficiently. When labour lacks motivation no good results can be expected and this results in sickness and non-viability of several industrial units.

(iii) Wrong Choice of Technology:

If the promoters use wrong technology, results are bound to be unsatisfactory. Many industrial units, especially in the small-scale sector, do not seek professional guidance in installing the correct machinery and plant. If the machinery and plant installed turn out to be defective and unsuitable, they are bound to suffer losses and become sick and non-viable.

(iv) Marketing Problems:

The industrial unit becomes sick due to product obsolescence and market saturation. The industrial unit becomes sick when its product-mix is not attuned to the consumers’ demand.

(v) Wrong Location:

If the location of an industrial unit happens to be defective either from the point of the market or the supply of inputs, it is bound to experience insurmountable difficulties.

(vi) Lack of Finance:

Inadequate financial arrangements or in the absence of timely financial aid an industrial unit is bound to come to grief. It will not be able to withstand operational losses.

(vii) Improper Capital Structure:

If capital structure proves to be unsound or unsuitable especially on account of delayed construction or operation, it will result in cost overruns or unduly large borrowing and create financial trouble for the unit concerned.

(viii) Management Deficiencies:

The biggest cause of industrial sickness is the managerial inefficiency. Lack of professional management or experienced management and the existence of hereditary management is an important cause of industrial sickness. Inefficient management results in inability to perceive things in proper perspective devoid of routine considerations. Inefficient management is also unable to build up good team and inspire confidence for an organised collective effort and takes autocratic and high-handed decisions.

(ix) Voluntary Sickness:

There is some sickness which is voluntarily invited by the entrepreneurs for various motives like getting government concession or aid from financial institutions. Thus industrial sickness cannot be attributed to any single, or simple cause but may be the result of a combination of number of allied causes.


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