IT@North-East: Two Steps For­ward, One Step Back

IT Mar­ket Pros: In­creas­ing Con­sumer Mar­ket, Grow­ing SMB & Com­mer­cial Busi­ness. IT Biz Cons: De­layed pay­ments in B2B, Govern­ment Ap­a­thy, Dif­fi­cult ter­rain and en­vi­ron­ment. GST: Part­ners on a Wait and Watch Mode. Hop­ing for a level play­ing field in North-

DQ Channels - - Mission Bharat -

In­dia has an ex­cel­lent po­si­tion in elec­tronic goods Trad­ing, ex­port and distribution around the world, but if we see the other side of the coun­try that is the north-eastern part which is long con­sid­ered back­ward in growth and busi­ness terms.

Even till now peo­ple have a 1980s view of the north­east. The im­age in peo­ple’s mind is that the re­gion is rid­den with in­sur­gen­cies, which is not the case any­more. Although the re­gion has re­mained dis­con­nected from the rest of the coun­try in many as­pects for a num­ber of years but now they are be­com­ing the growth en­gine of In­dia’s new econ­omy.

Re­search says north-eastern states would be able to boost In­dia’s am­bi­tious plan to cap­ture the global IT mar­ket very soon. And on the other hand IT traders of North-East In­dia felt the need of a com­mon plat­form to pro­tect the in­ter­ests of all the IT ven­dors of North­east be­sides en­sur­ing a healthy com­pe­ti­tion and above all main­tain cus­tomer and vendor re­la­tion.

There­fore to look af­ter the same North East Com­puter Traders As­so­ci­a­tion (NECTA) is poised to emerge as the undis­puted leader in the north-eastern re­gion over­tak­ing other mi­nor and lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tions. It is the as­so­ci­a­tion of chan­nel part­ners of the NE re­gion but OEM Ven­dors and Na­tional Distrib­u­tors also form an in­te­gral part of its IT Chan­nel ecosys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port col­lec­tively called the ‘Eight Sis­ters’ have 200,000 mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises (MSMEs), ac­count­ing for less than three per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal MSMEs.

North-East IT mar­kets at a glance

GUWAHATI - As­sam

Guwahati is the largest city of As­sam and North­east­ern In­dia which lies be­tween the banks of the Brahma­pu­tra River and the foothills of the Shil­long.

Guwahati might not be a tier I city, but when it comes to the IT mar­ket, it is the most grow­ing in terms of com­mer­cial­iza­tion and in­dus­trial devel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties. The­mar­ket has es­tab­lished its strong pres­ence in the re­gion and con­tin­ues to be a dom­i­nant player with its wide bas­ket of brands and prod­ucts.

Busi­ness is more de­pended on com­mer­cial progress as the growth rateis reach­ing high in terms of glob­al­iza­tion and busi­ness projects. There­fore the mar­kets de­mand growth is cur­rently dou­ble the na­tional av­er­age. But on the other side there are some is­sues which needs a point of con­cern over the IT Busi­ness.

On the cur­rent sce­nario chan­nel part­ners have shared their views in dif­fer­ent ways. Man­jeet Taluk­dar of Os­car Com­puter & Sys­tem says, ‘The mar­ket is okay, but the prob­lems arise only when the pay­ment get­de­layed. The mar­ket is stad­ing in grow­ing mode, but there are a num­ber of chal­lenges to tackle’.

‘We have a trust on our as­so­ci­a­tion and the govern­ment. Tak­ing de­ci­sion to im­ple­ment­ing GST is re­ally a big re­lax­ation to the part­ners like us. From first July the tax re­lax­ation will play the vast role in up­grad­ing the sit­u­a­tion over the down­fall led by the same gov­ern­ments de­mon­e­ti­za­tion plan last year’ Shared, He­mant Jain, Khushi Sys­tems.

Ex­press­ing his views on cur­rent mar­ket is­sue in the area Anil Har­lalka of Balaji Com­put­ers said, ‘Be­cause of the GST we are some­how cir­cled in a prob­lem­atic sit­u­a­tion. ‘We have al­ready kept much of stocks whose tax paid price will be re­main in the same range. But af­ter GST will im­ple­ment the tax paid price will be changed

to the con­sumer. So this is the loss we distrib­u­tors are sup­posed to be fac­ing till the old stock will not get sold out.The other way round is the stocks we will keep af­ter GST the less tax will be payable and will sell out in the per­fect order’.

Same as Anil, San­deep Bohra, Jupiter Tech­nol­ogy says, ‘ The ma­jor worry now is how fast we can fin­ish the sell­ing of cur­rent stock be­fore GST im­ple­men­ta­tion. The tax re­lax­ation is there af­ter 1st July but what about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion which is mak­ing us panic be­cause of the tax vari­a­tion’.

SHIL­LONG- Megha­laya

Shil­long is the hill sta­tion and cap­i­tal of Megha­laya which is blessed with the mon­soon shower 12 months. But apart from these nat­u­ral beau­ties when there’s come the dis­cus­sion on com­mer­cial­iza­tion and IT busi­ness say­ing this will not con­sid­ered wrong that the mar­ket is in process of es­tab­lish­ing the IT hub in the area With the pass­ing of time. There has been a rise in scarcity of IT Busi­ness. The distrib­u­tors are plan­ning a spe­cific strat­egy for grow­ing it faster.

On the other side GST has also cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment of anx­i­ety and con­cern among the trad­ing com­mu­nity in shil­long. Re­tail trade are de­mand­ing lower tax on items be­ing dealt by them since they have been cat­e­go­rized un­der higher tax slab in com­par­i­son to tax slab of cur­rent VAT tax regime. ‘Although the IT distrib­u­tors in the cap­i­tal are wor­ried about GST im­ple­men­ta­tion. They are lack­ing the in­for­ma­tion and are in need of un­der­stand­ing the key el­e­ments of GST and its mech­a­nism” ex­pressed Bid­han Das of Spec­trum on the ma­jor mar­ket is­sue’. He­gin Haokip of Techno Source says, ‘We are ready for GST and also do­ing the prepa­ra­tion but we are in need of a train­ing pro­gram on GST. So our as­so­ci­a­tion NECTA Is plan­ning to take help from a bank-

ing author­ity or Cen­tral govern­ment for a ses­sion’.

San­jay Ku­mar Singh, Tech­web has shared the other ma­jor is­sue over es­tab­lish­ing a busi­ness in a hill sta­tion where the mar­ket is some­how de­pends on whether also. ‘con­tin­u­ous rain­fall brings nat­u­ral dam­ages like land­slide which di­rectly ef­fects the trans­port sys­tem of state which is the only life line of this trade’.

Ankit Goenka of Dot­com says, ‘the trade is chang­ing its face day by day. There is a vari­a­tions in mar­ket sit­u­a­tion if we com­pare it from 10 year back con­di­tion when there were no ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties avail­able in the re­gion. But we distrib­u­tors wants a more con­cern from the state govern­ment for the bet­ter­ment of IT traders’.

IM­PHAL - Ma­nipur

Ma­nipur is a land of many tribes and Im­phal is the cul­tural cap­i­tal of the state and the most an­cient cities in In­dia. Sit­u­ated 786 m above sea level.

Though a small State, Ma­nipur has made a dras­tic change in the field IT busi­ness. Schemes and more im­por­tantly pro­mot­ing e-gov­er­nance in the State has made tremen­dous ef­fort whereby en­abling, em­pow­er­ing and trans­form­ing IT traders so­ci­ety. Im­phal Cen­tre was es­tab­lished with the ob­jec­tive to pro­vide in­dus­try stan­dard con­nec­tiv­ity and in­cu­ba­tion space to the IT firms of the State. So the chan­nel part­ners seems thank­ful to the state govern­ment for look­ing to­wards the mar­ket.

In Ma­nipur the IT busi­ness is ma­jorly work­ing on B2C for­mula Mainly Fo­cused on nor­mal cus­tomers. On the mar­ket is­sue few distrib­u­tors have shared the mar­ket sit­u­atu­tion like this, ‘the mar­ket is wait­ing for GST in a hope that the sit­u­a­tion will im­prove af­ter­wards’ said Jeevan Chan­dra, Man­gal In­fotech.

‘We are on wait and watch mode for GST and ex­pect­ing more reach to our prod­uct af­ter GST im­ple­men­ta­tion” John Chetri, The Com­puter House.

‘The pay­ment de­lay from cus­tomer is the ma­jor is­sue for the distrib­u­tors in Im­phal. The down­fall in busi­ness is be­cause of the same’ said Tarun Thokhom, Info Trade Ser­vices.

DIMA­PUR- Na­ga­land

Dima­pur is known to be the largest and fastest grow­ing city of Na­ga­land. Be­sides nat­u­ral beauty Na­ga­land Hand­loom and Hand­i­crafts are win­ning the heart of visi­tors.

The im­age in peo­ple’s mind is that the re­gion is rid­den with in­sur­gen­cies, which is not the case any­more. But now the sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent the mar­ket has grown and spread widely. Fo­cus­ing on the IT busi­ness if we see the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of chan­nel part­ners in the re­gion they have de­vel­oped in few years with the devel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy and so­ci­ety.

San­jay Ku­mar of Syn­ergy sys­tems shared, ‘ini­tially it was not that prof­itable to do the busi­ness in such un­der­de­vel­oped area but grad­u­ally the mar­ket got the grip and it has been many years the mar­ket is in grow­ing mode’.

Neizulo Therie, Eastern Com­puter Agency says, ‘we are wor­ried about GST im­ple­men­ta­tion and also lack­ing the in­for­ma­tion and are in need of un­der­stand­ing GST and its mech­a­nism’.

Sus­nta Roy, Hard and Soft says, ‘Na­ga­land is be­com­ing the good place for star­tups. Espe­cially Dima­pur is de­vel­op­ing in the field of IT trad­ing’.

AIZAWL- Mi­zo­ram

Aizawl is a beau­ti­ful place that of­fers plenty of tourist at­trac­tions to tourists and habi­tants alike. Be­sides its breath­tak­ing beauty, Aizawl is the store­house of all im­por­tant Govern­ment of­fices, State Assem­bly House and Civil Sec­re­tar­iat and also the small medium IT busi­ness.

Day by day the peo­ple and mi­grants over Aizawl are get­ting de­pended more on tech­nol­ogy. So the de­mands of elec­tronic goods has been in­creased in the re­gion in last few years.

If we look into the elec­tronic goods SMBs, The distrib­u­tors are get­ting much of chance to ex­pand their busi­ness.

In a con­ver­sa­tion with DQ Chan­nels Lalh­ming Thanga of Sun­flower Elec­tronic ex­pressed that “busi­ness in Aizawl is mostly the di­rect to con­sumers. Be­cause in B2C we get pay­ment on time and in B2B de­lay in pay­ment oc­curs.

Ab­hishek Jain, San­mati Traders says, ‘Be­cause of the GST we part­ners are cir­cled in a prob­lem­atic sit­u­a­tion. We have al­ready kept much of stocks whose tax paid price will be re­main in the same range. But af­ter GST will im­ple­ment the tax paid price will be changed to the con­sumer’.

AGAR­TALA- Tripura

Agar­tala is one of the fastest de­vel­op­ing cities of In­dia and the sec­ond largest city in North-east af­ter Guwahati. In a bid to pro­mote em­ploy­ment and e-gov­er­nance, the largest hub for in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) was re­cently in­au­gu­rated in Agar­tala. It is North­east’s sixth IT hub, which has been set up at a cost of Rs 50 crore. State’s 37 lakh pop­u­la­tion have started us­ing mo­bile phones, lap­tops and tablets which has lead to an IT boom. With these devel­op­ment the IT distrib­u­tors are also get­ting the ben­e­fit and mak­ing money. B2B is more prefer­able in Agar­tala as per the sce­nario.

Busi­ness is more de­pended on com­mer­cial projects here as the growth rate is reach­ing high grad­u­ally in terms of glob­al­iza­tion. The mar­kets de­mand growth is cur­rently in av­er­age. On the other side there are some is­sues which needs a point of con­cern over the IT Busi­ness. Mar­ket is be­com­ing wider in Tripura and the chan­nel part­ners are get­ting in­volved in govern­ment and com­mer­cial projects. There is a per­ma­nent mar­ket place for Bangladeshi busi­ness­men in Agar­tala. The first floor of the Mukut Bi­pani Bi­tan, a trade cen­tre in the New Cap­i­tal Com­plex, has been marked as Bangladesh Mar­ket. Af­ter GST im­ple­men­ta­tion the IT Part­ners has a be­lief that the con­di­tion of R&D will im­prove.

Sub­hash Mo­dak of Com­puter Link says, ‘IT traders of Agar­tala is do­ing good busi­ness across the coun­try, low cash flow is a point of con­cern. We want NECTA to look se­ri­ously af­ter these is­sues of IT trade in the area’.

Ra­jeev Das, First In­foTech ex­pressed, ‘Tak­ing de­ci­sion to im­ple­ment­ing GST is re­ally a big re­lax­ation to the part­ners like us. From first July the tax re­lax­ation will play the vast role in up­grad­ing the sit­u­a­tion over the down­fall led by the same gov­ern­ments de­mon­e­ti­za­tion plan last year’.

GANG­TOK- Sikkim

Apart from the nat­u­ral beauty the cap­i­tal of Sikkim, Gang­tok is grad­u­ally up­grad­ing its strength in elec­tronic goods Mar­ket. Ex­porters are avoid­ing the pay­ment of govern­ment dues like VAT, ex­cise duty, cus­toms duty and sales tax. In the process, a small state like Sikkim is be­ing de­nied its share of rev­enues and du­ties. In the past three years, 2014 and 2016, the vol­ume of ex­port, in­clud­ing le­gal and il­le­gal trade, has jumped man­i­folds. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the duty-free regime of the border trade, items man­u­fac­tured in dif­fer­ent parts of In­dia are be­ing sent to China through Nathula and a host of Chi­nese man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts are en­ter­ing In­dia. go­ing through Nathula to Ti­bet. Traders from China are bring­ing to the Sherathang trade mart prod­ucts mo­bile phones, and elec­tron­ics goods.

‘Busi­ness growth is there but the less re­sources is the bar­rier for us. Growth of our mar­ket is in­di­rectly based on devel­op­ment of the re­gion. State govern­ment should look af­ter the IT sec­tor. Lack in re­sources is let­ting it down says, Ani­tish of Ani­tish Tech­nolo­gies.

Ramesh singh of Ramesh & Broth­ers shared, ‘More in­volve­ment of as­so­ci­a­tion is ex­pected. Many times we feel the draw­back of be­ing sit­u­ated in a re­mote area’

‘We chan­nel part­ners are ex­cited that GST is fi­nally go­ing to hap­pen. We ex­pect the bet­ter­ment in busi­ness af­ter its im­ple­men­ta­tion” he fur­ther added’.

NA­HAR­LA­GUN - Arunachal Pradesh

The NA­HAR­LA­GUN town is sit­u­ated in the Foothills of Hi­malaya in the eastern most state of Arunachal Pradesh lo­cated 10 km far from the cap­i­tal city of Itana­gar.

The state’s econ­omy is largely agrar­ian, and is still strug­gling with the ba­sic re­sources but quite suc­ceeded in es­tab­lish­ing the IT mar­ket in Na­har­la­gun. City is counted the most de­vel­oped in the state.It has also build a small IT Mar­ket which has reach in al­most ev­ery districts. There are not a huge num­ber of chan­nel part­ners play­ing the busi­ness but few are quite sat­is­fied with the growth of mar­ket.

Con­sumer busi­ness is pre­ferred more in Na­har­la­gun rather than B2B. The rea­son be­hind that is less com­mer­cial­iza­tion in the area and the Big in­dus­tries are yet to set in the town. Grad­u­ally the small busi­ness are get­ting suc­cess in mak­ing their grip in mar­ket. Many of IT based SMBs are Plan­ning to ex­pand their mar­ket and mak­ing strate­gies over tak­ing the ben­e­fit of cen­tral gov­ern­ments gift of GST im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Talk­ing to DQ Chan­nels Ta­pan Sarkar, Q D En­ter­prise says, ‘mar­ket is grow­ing day by day and our busi­ness too. More in­volve­ment of as­so­ci­a­tion is ex­pected. Many times we feel the draw­back of be­ing sit­u­ated in a re­mote area”.

‘IT Chan­nel part­ners are ex­cited that GST is fi­nally go­ing to hap­pen. We ex­pect the bet­ter­ment in busi­ness af­ter its im­ple­men­ta­tion’ he fur­ther added.

Lichi Soam of Takar Engi­neer­ing House ex­pressed, ‘Growth is there but the less re­sources is the bar­rier for us. Some­times we suf­fer be­cause of the bad weather as the trans­porta­tion fully stops be­cause of that”.

‘The Growth of our mar­ket is in­di­rectly based on devel­op­ment of the re­gion. State govern­ment should look af­ter the IT sec­tor. Lack in re­sources is let­ting it down’ Lichi added.

Guwahati Mar­ket

NECTA As­so­ci­a­tion Com­mit­tee

Aizawl Mar­ket

Im­phal Mar­ket

Len­ovo Store at Dima­pur

Shil­long Mar­ket

Agar­tala Mar­ket

Ani­tish Sharma Ani­tish Tech­nolo­gies Ramesh Singh Ramesh and Broth­ers

Gang­tok Mar­ket

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