BUSI­NESSES HIT BY RED TAPE, TAXES

In World Bank’s ease of do­ing busi­ness rank­ing, In­dia comes 130th out of 190

New Straits Times - - Business - SAU­RABH AHUJA

NEW DELHI sim­plify the tax regime and lib­er­alise rules on for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI).

But in the World Bank’s most re­cent chart rank­ing coun­tries for their ease of do­ing busi­ness, In­dia came 130th out of 190.

While much of the fo­cus has been on the tra­vails of for­eign firms, local en­trepreneurs who should be the pos-ter boys of In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ing are also strug­gling.

The printer that Sau­rabh did even­tu­ally man­age to im­port from China to build ev­ery­thing from drones to ro­bots had nearly 300 parts.

He first had to sub­mit a sheaf of doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing de­tails of the ex­porter and the prod­uct cat­a­logue to of­fi­cials at Delhi air­port.

He was then told each part would have to be tested be­fore be­ing let through. Three months and 150,000 ru­pees (RM9,787.5) in ware­house charges later, he got his con­sign­ment only after he coughed up a bribe, he said.

Sau­rabh launched his com­pany Nuts and Boltz six years ago from a base­ment in north­west Delhi to pro­vide other bud­ding en­trepreneurs a place to ex­per­i­ment with prod­uct ideas.

For an hourly rental fee, clients have ac­cess to equip­ment such as 3D print­ers and cir­cuit boards.

But while the pro­to­types can be crafted in In­dia, nearly all the man­u­fac­tur­ing ends up be­ing out­sourced over­seas.

While In­dia’s big busi­ness houses are among Modi’s loud­est cheer­lead­ers, economist Su­nil Sinha said making things at home re­mained a fraught process for smaller firms.

“It’s one thing to say we want to fo­cus on man­u­fac­tur­ing and that’s why we have lib­er­alised FDI and that’s why we’re try­ing to im­prove the ease of do­ing busi­ness,” said Su­nil, prin­ci­pal economist at Fitch In­dia.

“But the cru­cial com­po­nent is what’s hap­pen­ing at the state level, at the local level. Any­one set­ting up a fac­tory or busi­ness needs wa­ter and elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions and var­i­ous per­mis­sions and an­nual reg­u­la­tory fil­ings to dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment watch­dogs. Those are the ma­jor stum­bling blocks and there are no sig­nif­i­cant changes at that level.” AFP

If my busi­ness grows, the coun­try grows with me. But the gov­ern­ment won’t let me grow.

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