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Entrepreneurship In India: An Easy Path Or A Bumpy Ride?

Is entrepreneurship difficult in India?

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Entrepreneurs of india
Entrepreneurs in India and their success stories have encouraged several new entrepreneurs. Pixabay

By Shachindra Nath

It has been said that Lakshmi and Saraswati were always competing for supremacy against each other. Wherever Saraswati went, Lakshmi used to follow. It is believed that if one prays for Saraswati, Lakshmi will follow. If Saraswati departs, Lakshmi will depart with her, leaving behind her elder sister Lakshmi who will bring misfortune. Symbolically, prosperity or money follow when we hone our skills.

The deep-rooted problem with entrepreneurship is the evil of our society where the size of wealth is the determinant of stature and prominence. Questions like how many billion dollars is your market capitalisation? How much can you spend on marriages? How easily can you walk into a powerful person’s office so on and so forth are what drives an entrepreneur’s ambition of trying to build wealth too quickly and diversify into many unrelated activities. This further leads to entrepreneurs taking high debt, believing that the success of each of their ventures is given, and once they start failing, they get entangled in methods which are neither sustainable nor ethical. One of the common examples being the combination of business interests with politics and power.

While it is true that the journey of a new entrepreneur in India is not easy, entrepreneurs who start with inherited capital also face a similar challenge of multiplying their wealth, with only the scale of the problem being different. The common theme being, entrepreneurs — new or generational — are focused on the size of their wealth rather than the real work.

entrepreneurship in india
Entrepreneurs in India have to face a number of issues which slows down their profits. Pixabay

We have multiple success stories of great entrepreneurial journeys in India — in most of those successes, you would find that there is a single-minded focus to build one institution and not to diversify. Infosys is a prime example — during the long journey of Infosys, the founders after their initial success did not think of multiplying their wealth to start multiple other businesses, which if they wanted, they could have done.

Having worked long number of years as a professional executive, seeing entrepreneurs closely, and now turning to an entrepreneur myself, my learning has been that if your mission is only entering into venture to increase your wealth and feature in the Forbes ranking of rich people, you are bound to falter at some point of time. The mission of an entrepreneur should be to build enterprises which people respect, however, by no means I am saying that one should not try achieving scale, but don’t try doing this for too many things.

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God has given us only one life — if you achieve one vision which can create an impact, that should be good enough and there should not be the need to chase too many things at the same time.

While the demise of V.G. Siddhartha is one of the saddest events for Indian entrepreneurs, it is also a warning signal for the established, upcoming and young entrepreneurs — choose a life mission and achieve that — wealth is an outcome of good work and not the other way around. (IANS)

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India to Set Up “Border Haats” with Myanmar

The Minister said, The success of the "Border Haats" running along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and Tripura has prompted us to go for similar 'haats'

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India, Border Haats, Myanmar
To carry out border trade with Myanmar, the location for the construction of 'Border Haat' has been identified in four places -- Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua) in southeastern Mizoram. Pixabay

The success of the “Border Haats” with Bangladesh has prompted other northeastern states of India to go for similar arrangements with Myanmar. At the instance of the Mizoram government, the Centre is likely to set up four “Border Haats” (market) along the border with Myanmar to boost local trade and livelihood of the people living there.

“To carry out border trade with Myanmar, the location for the construction of ‘Border Haat’ has been identified in four places — Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua) in southeastern Mizoram,” Mizoram Commerce and Industries Minister R. Lalthangliana told IANS.

The Minister said, “The success of the “Border Haats” running along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and Tripura has prompted us to go for similar ‘haats’ with Mynmar in Mizoram.”

Mizoram Commerce and Industries Department Director J. Hmingthanmawia said that the state government has sent the detailed proposals in this regard to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for its approval.

India, Border Haats, Myanmar
The success of the “Border Haats” with Bangladesh has prompted other northeastern states of India to go for similar arrangements with Myanmar. Pixabay

“Once we get the green signal from the MEA, we would seek funds from the Union Industries and Commerce Ministry,” Hmingthanmawia told IANS. He said that officials of the Mizoram government and Myanmar have recently conducted a joint survey and identified the locations to set up the “Border Haats”.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga in his Independence Day speech had said that the proposed “Border Haats” would become important trade points between India and Myanmar.

“Land Custom Station (LCS) at Zokhawthar, the lone trade route for Mizoram with South East Asian countries, is being proposed for upgradation. Construction of Trade Facilitation Centre at Tlabung has already been completed.”

“The Indian government has also proposed construction of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at four places at the border in Mizoram — Marpara, Tuipuibari, Silsuri and Nunsury. The construction of ICP at Kawrpuichhuah is also expected to commence shortly,” the Chief Minister added.

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Mizoram has an unfenced international border of 404 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been guarding the Bangladesh border and Assam Rifles personnel are posted on the border with Myanmar.

Experts and various studies suggest that if the “Border Haats” are set up, smuggling of drugs and other commodities would be checked to a large extent. Security expert Manas Paul said that large-scale smuggling of drugs from Myanmar via Mizoram and other neighbouring states has increased in the last few years.

“What is really worrisome is the fact that these synthetic drugs have got a domestic market inside the state, especially among the younger generation. Cross border legal activities including setting up of “Border Haats” could curb the smuggling of drugs and other contraband,” Paul, who has authored books on security and terrorism in the northeast, told IANS.

The CUTS International, a Jaipur based international NGO, with support from the World Bank, had conducted a study in 2016 to understand and examine the effect of “Border Haats” on poverty alleviation and other multiplier effects such as informal trade.

India, Border Haats, Myanmar
At the instance of the Mizoram government, the Centre is likely to set up four “Border Haats” (market) along the border with Myanmar to boost local trade and livelihood of the people living there. Pixabay

CUTS International Executive Director Bipul Chatterjee said that trade will increase income, curb smuggling, and cross-border crimes will also go down.

“‘Border Haats’ have contributed to the border area development, roads have improved, trafficking of women has stopped, unemployment issues have been addressed,” said Chatterjee.

Currently four “Border Haats” are operational in Meghalaya and Tripura. The first “Border Haat” was started on July 23, 2011 at Kalaichar (India)-Kurigram (Bangladesh) in the West Garo Hills of Meghalaya. Three other “haats” followed in Meghalaya and Tripura.

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The Union Industries and Commerce Ministry has been spending on an average Rs 3.5 crore to develop the infrastructure and necessary facilities for each “Border Haat” along the Bangladesh border. The Bangladesh government is not providing any funds for the purpose.  (IANS)