Before proceeding ahead, I would like to honestly confess, this article was conceptualized before our beloved Prime Minister’s speech recently on supporting the domestic economy. I had penned this when the entire social media was going gaga on ‘banning’ Chinese goods in India. When we were about to finish the Lockdown 1.0, I was wanting to buy an earphone for participating in the webinars, I was asking the neighborhood mobile shop dealer to give something Indian-made. Out of the 10 SKUs he had, everything was China-made. He said it will take ages to sell Indian products for the Indian consumers.
Going by the headline, I am not here to advise channel partners to deal only with Indian products. Yes. I know it is not practical at the ground level. However, I would like to raise my index finger towards our Indian system which had extensively made the Indian channel community not to think beyond box-moving.
In close to a decade of my experience with the channel fraternity, interacting with channel partners from Jammu to Nagercoil (Kanyakumari), many channel partners say they have to sell the products only on two factors- demand from the customers and monopoly from the distributors. And on the other side, there were some channel partners who tried rolling up their sleeves to get their hands dirty in manufacturing. However, their point of view is horrible when it comes to approvals from the government. On one side, we are speaking ongoing global whereas, manufacturing is still a distant dream for every reseller. On the sidelines of any OEM or channel event, when I casually kick-start a chat with any channel partner on why not manufacturing they will ask me to switch to some other topic.
Despite many governments say manufacturing is still their priority, the system is still waiting to get desensitized from the ‘Sarkar Raj’ virus which is more dangerous than the COVID-19. On average, anyone who wants to manufacture has to get clearance from 27 various departments from time to time. If a channel partner has to wait in front of this approval, when can the organization think of the growth phase? Thanks to the nature of IT hardware and software comes under various departments and divisions, every state calls it in its own name. We can still recall before the GST era, while the state government uses to call ‘Software’ as a product while the central government calls it a product.
The strategic advantage of India in terms of location, climate, the fertility of the land, the young workforce should not be wasted. Before the government asking the customers to buy local and generate demand, it is the equal duty of the government to fulfill the supply by enhancing the ‘Make-In-India’ reach the common public.
Another mistake the government is doing is lending their ears only to select industry associations or individuals who will never be a representation of the industry in a country where business changes every 35 miles. In this digital age, while the COVID-19 pandemic had enabled everyone to adopt digital, the government should also listen from business owners from all walks of life not just the top OEMs.
I had noticed in Singapore, the registration of a company as simple as doing shopping in a supermarket. All the departments are integrated into one roof and when a business owner is entering one room with an idea in a paper, can exit the building with their organization in reality. While we cannot compare Singapore to India, we can replicate the success of how tech-driven systems in railways and passports had swayed corruption almost and made the system frugal, why can’t IT manufacturing.
I also notice a trend among the Chinese companies vigorously trying to enter India through While I agree it is not practically possible to ban products from a country. However, the government, in the interest of the channel partners, should have a long-term vision so as to support the channel fraternity.
(The author is an independent media professional having close to 10 years of experience in tracking Indian channel fraternity)