“Ease of Doing Business (Alcoholic Beverages Industry)”
– Shagun Khurana
“Ease of Doing Business (Tourism Industry)”
– Anupam Hazarika
The private sector and government are cornerstones of an economy that cannot exist in isolation. While advocating complete control to private sector would result in inequitable social matrix, excessive regulations bear the risk of adversely impacting ease of business. We need to strike a fine balance by making smart regulations that would create a conducive business environment, and at the same time, provide adequate protection to consumers and other societal participants. A predictable regulatory environment and effective business regulations are critical for market development and businesses to thrive.
The alcoholic beverage industry in India is the third largest in the world by volume, valued at USD 35 billion. A global study undertaken by OECD finds that alcohol consumption in India has risen by 55 per cent over a period of 20 years, from 1992 to 2012. The alcohol industry has been able to carve out a standalone economic importance in today’s India; it generates an estimated INR 16,000 crore per annum for the States’ exchequer. However, on account of high taxes, multiple regulations, and other barriers to operations, the industry growth is stifled. India is specifically one of the world’s most restrictive and complex places for doing business in the alcohol industry. Through a sectoral study on alcoholic beverage industry through the prism of ease of doing business, we aim to understand finer nuances of the industry and recommend measures in order to address the concerns of stakeholders across the industry ecosystem.
“Ease of Doing Business (Sugar Industry)”
– Nirupama Soundararajan
Over the past decade, India has emerged as a preferred destination, globally. As per the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 of the World Economic Forum, India’s rank improved from 65 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. The tourism sector contributed 9.6 per cent in 2017. Furthermore, foreign exchange earnings from tourism during 2016-17 were USD 2.278 billion as compared to FEEs of USD 1.726 billion during 2015-16 and US$ 1.609 billion in 2014-15.
However, despite the high economic importance of the sector, there are certain recurring issues in the context of conducting business in the tourism sector. Tourism and hospitality is a labour-intensive sector. This makes the sector’s role critical in terms of generating local employment. However, high tax regime and complex labour laws at the Centre and State level deter existing businesses from expanding their operations and new businesses from entering the Indian market. For example, GST on the sector’s offerings in India is levied at 18 to 25 per cent, much higher than that at some of the major tourist destinations like Portugal or Spain, where it is below 10 per cent.
Hence, there is a need to focus on the rules and regulations which are restricting business potential in tourism. Through the proposed study on ease of doing business in tourism, we aim to analyse the industry and recommend measures in order to facilitate the doing business scenario.
"Reviewing the Regulatory Framework for the Direct Selling Companies in India"
- Nirupama Soundararajan and Arindam Goswami
Role of sugar industry in the Indian context is not limited to economic contribution. It provides livelihoods to around 50 million farmers and accounts for around 12 percent of rural employment. However, increase in input costs (sugarcane and milling) coupled with low degree of alignment between sugar prices, industry stakeholders face multiple challenges across the spectrum. We believe the sector provides a spectrum of transformational opportunities, which have the potential to treat the deficiencies and increase the attractiveness of the sector. Appropriate action-oriented approach towards optimizing processes, permissions to maximize opportunities, in consultation within the stakeholders needs to be followed, to arrive at a shared vision for the industry and steps that would eventually fructify the same.
"Achieving Trade Competitiveness Through Air Express"
- Nirupama Soundararajan
In spite of a steady growth and a steadier contribution to the economy, the direct selling industry is often misunderstood and criticised for exploiting customer’s naiveté. In fact, lack of understanding of business operation, particularly among law enforcement agencies, have culminated in initiating legal proceedings against many legitimate direct sellers. Apart from this, various other factors such as lack of regulations in the industry, lack of clarity of the business model among public, and existence of too many fly by night operators had time and again pulled back the industry’s growth. In 2016 the Department of Consumer Affairs (Government of India) issued Direct Selling Guidelines which was expected to bring clarity and transparency in regulation of direct selling. Despite of this, the industry still have to prove its legitimacy from time to time. This study aims to understand the regulatory challenges that besiege the industry today and steps that can be taken to make the sector more competitive so that the potential of the sector can be channelised for the growth of the economy.
"Welfare Gain Through Meal Voucher "
- Nirupama Soundararajan and Arindam Goswami
India ranks 35 in Logistics Performance Index (LPI), compared to China at 27, Taiwan at 25, and Japan at 12. India’s merchandise trade to GDP ratio was 38.5 per cent in 2014 and 31.8 per cent in 2015, reflecting a high cohesion with the global economy. Global trade has burgeoned, by leveraging technology and air express for just in time manufacturing and time bound delivery. Air express not only allows companies to expand their trade footprint irrespective of geographical constraints, it also ensures customer satisfaction through high speed product services.. However, in the absence of a conducive regulatory framework, it would not be possible for the industry to meet the desired goals and become globally competitive. Regulatory challenges involve complex customs processes, limited automation, absence of an end-to-end air express policy, and approval from multiple ministries. Against this backdrop, it is imperative to deliberate solutions and potential policy support that would make the Indian air express industry globally competitive.
In the Indian context, meal cards (commonly known as meal vouchers) have played a positive role in multiple ways. First, the meal card have played a positive role in extending social benefits to employees by improving the supply chain for meal services. Second, the meal card has also helped the Government by the collection of additional indirect taxes in the meal card value chain through participating outlets. The meal card programme further had a positive impact by transformation of informal economy into formal economy in the restaurants/eatery sector. Despite this, the benefits of MV have been rather understated and is merely treated as a fiscal incentive for employees with a fiscal limit of INR 50 per meal that was set in 2001. This study would attempt to quantify the value gains of MVs through the use of extensive secondary data and structured interviews with employers, employees, merchants and other significant players in the value system.