Dear Government : Before #MakeInIndia, We Need #SellingInIndia Reforms

The Modi government is focusing a lot on making India the next manufacturing hub. Several initiatives have been announced – right from Government’s IoT policy to business registration in a day.
All good.
But what about those who are already doing a business in the country?

Selling In India Is TOUGH!
Selling In India Is TOUGH!

Take a look at what has happened in the last few days:
#1. Flipkart’s BillionDay Sales
The government issued a fine of INR 1,000 crores for ‘Sales Violation’.
#2. Uber Is Banned (Plus Others).
Yes, Uber and others are at a fault for going callous on driver checking. Apparently, it just takes a few thousand rupees bribe for drivers  to get character certificate ! ?
But now there is a blanket ban on all online cab operators – we really wonder what was the transportation department doing when they issued permits to these companies ? Why is there so little check internally?
Worst is that Uber GM was slapped by a *political activist*,  essentially sending a notice that the law and order is still handled by a selected few individuals (and one can get away with anything).
#3. Xiaomi banned from selling phones in India  : Ofcourse, there is a patent issue here and as with any patent issue, it’s not all that straightforward. Not just Xiaomi, but several other companies have received such notices from Ericsson and the court needs to have more clear process/timelines for appealing and applying for stay order.
#4. Amazon’s warehouse in Karnataka banned from selling.
#5. Kerala government has banned ecommerce companies; Punjab government is following them.
There is no clarity on Octroi/ GST. SAAS companies cant’ sell in India because of RBI policies (ALL Indian SAAS  startups have moved their HQ to US).
6. Digital (advertising) players have to pay service tax (while print / offline advertising do not have to).

The issue here is simple – selling in India is getting tougher by the day and government has no clear policies and protection for private players. Most of the regulations aren’t in-tune-with-the-time and do not help new new players who are trying to disrupt an established space.
While the government’s focus is on bringing more foreign money, unless #SellingInIndia becomes easier, you won’t win the trust. The needle wil not move.

Grow The Domestic Market..Or Else, Go Home

One of the most significant reasons why startup ecosystem is growing in India is because of the growing domestic market. Look at China’s Internet growth story and you get the drift. The government has very little role to play in the growing domestic market – but least and I repeat, least that they should do is stay away and be the enabler [please read : What Should Be The Role of Government in Promoting Entrepreneurship? Stay Away. But…]
If at all, the government’s #MakeInIndia campaign is to move beyond social media ‘likes’ and PR-announcements, #SellingInIndia needs to be made much more easier.
Till then, these are just false promises and lofty announcements by a government which is giving into lobbying and can ban anybody and everybody who is currently selling in the Indian market.
If you resonate with this, go ahead and tweet this to Mr. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Talking about bans and more bans, the radio sings.

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