NOT SO EASY STILL

In­dia moved up 30 places in the lat­est World Bank ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ings. Yet, start­ing and run­ning a busi­ness here re­mains an or­deal, sig­nalling the need for bold reg­u­la­tory re­forms

India Today - - INSIDE - By M.G. Arun

The World Bank re­port not­with­stand­ing, start­ing and run­ning a busi­ness in In­dia is still painful be­yond words

ININ 2015, NAKUL KHANNA LEFT A CUSHY JOB AT GOOGLE TO FO­CUS ON

three of his start-ups—In­stago, an ag­gre­ga­tor app that lists taxi ser­vices, In­staClean, a laun­dry ser­vice, and another that makes cus­tomised T-shirts. He tasted ini­tial suc­cess when In­stago had over 1,000 down­loads in the first two weeks of its launch. Khanna, how­ever, needed funds to im­prove the app and ap­proached the Depart­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy un­der the Union govern­ment, which, he heard, al­lowed a grant of Rs 15 lakh for start-ups. Af­ter a year’s wait, he was ex­tended just Rs 75,000, which he po­litely re­fused. “It was a year wasted,” says Khanna, now a stu­dent of busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Kel­logg School of Man­age­ment in the US. “It is not just enough that the In­dian govern­ment talks of funds. It needs to take ac­tion to dis­pense them.” At Kel­logg, Khanna, 26, be­lieves he will be able to scale up his dream project with a $10,000 (around Rs 6.5 lakh) fel­low­ship. While it’s cred­i­ble that In­dia climbed 30 places to reach 100 in the Do­ing Busi­ness 2018 re­port—the World Bank’s lat­est ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ings for 190 coun­tries— the fact is it’s still cum­ber­some to set up and do busi­ness here.

Cover by NILANJAN DAS

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