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75th Independence Day: What freedom means to entrepreneurs starting, scaling small businesses in India

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: As India observes its 75th year of independence on August 15, here’s what members of its small business community opine for a no-holds-barred growth of entrepreneurship.

75th Independence Day: What freedom means to entrepreneurs starting, scaling small businesses in India
Independence Day 2022,Delhi Traffic Police Advisory for 76th Independence Day 2022. (Representational Image: pixabay)

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: There’s some walk the talk done by the government in the past few years to ease the regulatory burden in the country for the business environment to thrive, particularly for new enterprises to come up and emerging ones to scale up faster. But the road to creating a fertile environment for starting, growing, and exiting a business in India is far from being end-to-end smooth. As India observes its 75th year of independence on August 15, here’s what members of its small business community opine for a no-holds-barred growth of entrepreneurship.

“I wish for freedom from delays in obtaining Enforcement of Contracts through the judicial system,” Ashok Saigal, Managing Director, Frontier Technologies and Co-chairman, CII National MSME Council had told FE Aspire. The World Bank’s ease of doing business report 2020 ranked India at 163 out of around 190 countries globally on enforcement of contracts — measuring the time and cost for resolving business disputes.

“As an entrepreneur, it takes a tremendous amount of effort and energy to ensure suppliers deliver on time and buyers pay on time. While this seems basic professionalism but this culture is not normalised in the informal MSME landscape,” said Saigal. 

Beyond enforcing contracts, there is a long-standing demand of the MSME sector for working capital support by mandating government and private buyers to release payments for goods procured within the stipulated time of 45 days from the receipt of goods. However, the situation is far from seeing a turnaround.

“Government payments are delayed for five-six months. Around Rs 5-6 crore of our payment was delayed. We want freedom from these challenges as soon as possible,” Awadhesh K. Agrawal, Managing Director, Ranwawala Enterprises and Divisional Chairman, Lucknow Chapter, Indian Industries Association had told FE Aspire.

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“Bureaucracy is at every level and it is difficult to describe the challenges but as entrepreneurs, we understand that it is a part of setting up and running a business,” said Agrawal. 

According to a report launched by the non-profit entity for promoting entrepreneurship Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) and analytics company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) in June this year, the problem of delayed payments is likely to have Rs 10.7 lakh crore, amounting to 5.9 per cent of India’s gross value added (GVA) locked up annually. The data on the delayed payment monitoring portal MSME Samadhaan, as of August 9, 2022, showed that 30,707 delayed payment cases involving Rs 11,208 crore were currently under consideration by the facilitation councils. 

MSMEs have also called for educating children on entrepreneurship at the school level in an effort to overhaul the job mindset. “Unless new entrepreneurs come up, how will industries expand and grow? Existing businesses will continue to operate in a family-run manner, but how will new enterprises come up at an exponential rate unless you change children’s mindset right at an early age,” ML Dhawan, Managing Director, Dhawan Enterprises and National Vice President, All India Confederation of Small & Micro Industries Associations had told FE Aspire. 

“Hence, entrepreneurship should be a mandatory part of the school curriculum otherwise in the current state, the majority of people will continue to get into jobs. This mindset needs freedom,” said Dhawan. 

In line with the need to inculcate entrepreneurship at the school level, the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell (MIC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in July this year had launched the School Innovation Council (SIC) and recognized over 12,800 school teachers across India as innovation ambassadors to build the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in schools. This involved leadership talk and panel discussion with entrepreneurs, funding business prototypes, and more.

Also read: 75th Independence Day: What freedom small businesses seek from GST-related challenges

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