Job Creation, Social Security Key Issues in India, Says Rajan
RBI guv also bats for easier business environment for startups, lighter regulations for smaller firms
Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan called job creation the most important issue in India even as he batted for an easier business environment for startups, lighter regulations for small firms and better social security.
“Jobs by startups and self-employments is the biggest source of new jobs. The conditions government is laying to create a level-playing field is obvious, but there are also some less obvious conditions like the protection of property rights and a transparent tax regime,” Rajan said while delivering the YB Chavan memorial lecture.
Rajan once again touched on easier entry and exit rules, especially for smaller companies which are burdened by heavy regulations both while starting as well as closing down businesses.
“Easier business environment is not just important from an economic growth perspective but also on a social basis. A favourable business environment also helps the social environment,” he said. Easier regulations would also lead to more Dalit entrepreneurs starting their own businesses, he added.
Citing a study that compared the startup environment in Italy and the UK, he said: “In Italy, startups start much bigger than the UK but UK firms become much bigger compared to the Italian firms because in Italy, you have many regulations on small firms, while the UK has lighter regulations.”
RBI is trying to make regulations simpler by issuing master circulars aggregating scattered rules, and removing old regulations which have become redundant but still in the statute, Rajan said.
RBI’s licences to new banks that will lend to small business will hopefully ensure that funding reaches these companies, he said. “Access to finance is the single biggest complaint for these small firms. They say banks won’t talk to us. I hope the change in technology and new institutions will help a great deal.” The next year could see as many as 18 new banks opening shop in the form of payments banks and small banks. “My hope is that the new generation of small finance banks can create a revolution in small lending,” he said. “Urban cooperative banks and regional rural banks can also be enlisted in this process.”
While many efforts are being taken by the government and the regulator, life should still get easier to exit a business, too, if the promoter wants to cut the losses and move on.
“It is easy to get into business but very hard to close a business,” he sa-
ON DOING BUSINESS
id. “In my travels across the country, in industrial parks, I have seen empty sheds of old firms which are not allowed to die. We need a cheap and quick exit policy. A lot of small firms fail, and it’s not a bad thing.”
Rajan said conventional vocational training courses may not be sufficient and that they need to be upgraded to meet the modern day demands.
“We need to expand people skills in India,” he said. “Dalit entrepreneurs that I have met have not come from IITs or the IIMs but through vocational training courses. Things like electrical and wielding works are not easy to do, especially with modern machinery.” While many steps have been taken, social security needs to be improved, though they should not be at the expense of making people lazy, the RBI governor said.