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
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