“Expect Govt To Strongly Consider Establishing Better Broadband Availability On Wireless At Affordable Rates That Can Facilitate Small Businesses”

Art BigThinking Aloud!,

Never have the expectations been so immense, aspirations so palpable and optimism so high that made an entire nation come together to give that one person a clear mandate, who seems to have caught the imagination of a billion people. With the change of power at the Centre, the corporates are also looking towards the new Government with the hope that it can turnaround the economy and lead the industry towards the growth path.

As part of this Indian corporate sector and someone who has been advocating the need to bolster technology, I too have few but important wish-list for the new Government that I would like to see fulfilled. My list starts with a clear intention to promote internet in the light of small and medium businesses and create an infrastructure that supports their growth. Internet has evolved from being widely considered as a luxury and ‘technology for few’ to being widely accepted as ‘technology for all’. The internet acts as a platform that a business would need to place, position and promote itself on. Apart from this, it cuts across all industries and services and creates wealth, growth and employment. In the 21st century, it is in fact difficult to imagine a business realise its full potential without the presence of internet.

Equally important is the need to place the SMEs along the mainstream players and provide them with a level playing field. This can be realised only when we give them the opportunity to get introduced to technology. I would like to see incentives provided to those SMEs who actively use technology in their business, maybe in the form of tax incentives in order to boost its application.

In the latest report SME Sentiment Survey (May ‘14), we have found that the SMEs too have high business confidence and growth expectation from the coming quarter and current Financial Year. Having had a growth of under 5 per cent by most of them last year, the respondents are rooting for the Government to give economic stability to the Government.

Technology

In India, as of today, only a limited number of SMEs are aware of the benefits of technology and are making the right use of it to promote their business. Unfortunately, there are many who are oblivious to this powerful tool. As an entrepreneur who has been involved in the internet industry for the past 18 years and closely worked with the SME sector, I would like all businesses to have access to affordable and easy availability of technology. This would give them a chance to choose and decide the feasibility of its application in their business. But first, we need to give them the chance to take the first step.

Reaching out to different markets require investment of capital, time and resources. The limited resources that a small entrepreneur has, makes it difficult for them to access these market and so gets eaten by bigger corporates. The online medium is a perfect tool that can help them break away from such restrictions and can enable SMEs to carry out their business operations seamlessly.

Having used the digital platform heavily for political campaigns during the recent elections, the new Government must be aware of the tremendous power that the medium holds in connecting two entities. We expect them to empower SMEs with this tool through effective policies that allows them to have wide access to technology.

We expect the Government to strongly consider establishing better broadband availability on wireless at affordable rates that can facilitate small businesses too. Enabling our SME sector with such strengths can be used strategically to achieve substantial national goals like a better GDP and an increased inclusive growth for our country.

In a mobile first world, Indian entrepreneurs are increasingly making use of mobile technology to carry out their business. The Government should also consider expansion and penetration of mobile services to improve the operational level of businesses in India.

Besides this, the cloud technology holds the key to take the businesses to the next level of growth. Gathering information has become essential for every organisation. There are many who have a vast collection of data, but storage crunch has always been a concern. With the help of Cloud technology, data storage, access and sharing will be a child’s play. We hope that the new Government realises the power of Cloud technology and brings down the costs for SMEs by bringing in feasible policies and programmes in the interest of the businesses.

But before we can create such a framework for SMEs to flourish in, we need to set up proper infrastructure, which is an urgent requirement in the industry. With a view to place them on a strong growth trajectory, SMEs should be provided with exceptional infrastructure, which assists them in increasing production with optimal resource utilisation.

The present ruling party has to span resources and expertise to spur ICT growth in the country. The Prime Minister, as we know, is a great believer in new technology and thus, we hope that the country will see increased use of technology in governance and digital literacy. They can easily drive technology adoption among different stakeholders and cultivate a culture of technology enabled e-governance and create citizen-government interface encouraging smooth interaction between the two.

Skill Development & Other Policies

The enforcement of skill development for businesses should be rendered as a foremost objective for the Government. The SMEs should have enough training and resources to utilise the power of technology like machine to machine and cloud technology, to compete with the bigger firms.

We also would like to see the implementation of single window clearance system. Adopting such a system would bring a huge relief to the SME sector which will help speed up the process of license permissions.

Along with the above, the Government must also try to win back the trust of investors. It should make the spectrum of all bands available to them which are currently lying idle at various Government agencies. Of late the capital market has been on the down side. To turn around this condition, it is incumbent upon the Government and business leaders to instill trust and confidence in the investors.

The IT industry has been facing concerns such as taxation, revival of IT projects, stalled large projects that are awaiting approval and tax policies that have hampered economic growth. It remains to be seen how can the Government bring in blanket reforms that addresses the expectation of a nation that’= is awaiting the beginning a new era backed by growth.

While the new Government has pressure to meet expectations coming from all quarters, what is required is careful strategy to introduce effective economic policies that creates conducive environment for growth. We look forward to positive economic trends in the coming days and extend best wishes to the Government.

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