More growth, less red tape. This is what small businesses are expecting from the 2019 elections in India.
The first phase of the Lok Sabha 2019 elections is underway. Voting began on April 11 and is scheduled to end on May 19.
Small businesses and MSMEs are hoping that the next government will deliver on promises to eliminate red tape, focus on economic growth and advance on innovation and technology in the industry.
What are MSMEs openly asking for in the 2019 elections?
The Lok Sabha elections have politicians promising a lot of development and infrastructure to small businesses, including a wider budget and promise of jobs. However, the MSME industry has some specific demands.
Political parties have released their manifestos earlier this month, so what are the demands from the small business and are promises by the contesting parties ready to meet these demands?
Ease of doing business:
Small businesses and startups alike want to carry out their businesses in an easier manner, with less reforms, paperwork and rules tying them down. India ranked in the 77th place from over 190 countries in a survey conducted by World Bank, jumping over 20 places up. While contesting parties are heading towards promises of making small business owners lives easier, these businesses are demanding specific reforms, from tax reductions, better funding for startups and more employment opportunities.
“ We definitely expect further progress in the Indian economy and more ease of doing business [under the new government]” Rajesh Mehta, chairman of Bangalore-based Rajesh Exports, told the Nikkei Asian Review.
Improvements to the agricultural sector:
A primary source of India’s GDP is the agricultural sector. Small businesses operating under this sector are asking for better infrastructure to carry out operations. Any uptick in rural income leads to higher demand for industrial goods and services.
Demands include tools to boost irrigation facilities and cold storage requirements to meet the dynamic weather conditions. The regressive technology still poses a problem for farmers and small business owners who still do not have access to basic amenities for their daily business needs.
Among these, another hope from small businesses are loan waivers. Instead of just using it as a promise for a political gain, farmers and businesses alike are hoping for loan waivers that will take care of any crushing debt woes that they face.
Setting up Infrastructure for Technology & Job Opportunities
Payments are going digital and BJP, a frontrunner in the elections, promise to facilitate an establishment of 50,000 new startups in the ecosystem by 2024, through the creation of 100 innovation zones in urban local bodies.
But does this mean more jobs, or better investment in technology, as promised by Congress?
Initiatives like ‘Digital India’ and ‘Start Up India’ saw an increase in the number of small businesses going online. However, there is still a long way to go to generate employment. MSMEs want the Government to focus on innovation for their businesses, to bring technology into the forefront of business growth. While the current government have taken leaps to ensure a start, MSMEs want to see it grow.
Small business owners are aiming towards getting better credit for their businesses, to invest in more labour.
Easier tax reforms
Small businesses with less than 50L INR turnover need to file the same tax returns as Reliance, who have billions of dollars worth of turnover. For many small businesses, the introduction of GST came as a shock that later proved only useful when filing returns. However, the process of filing tax returns is till a 90 page process that requires a Chartered Accountant’s expertise.
Promoting Women-run Small Businesses
A constant demand from small businesses every election year is to promote the number of women-controlled enterprises in the country. Not only is this a direct propeller for women empowerment, it is also an excellent way to create jobs. Furthermore, there are over 10 million women-owned small businesses in the country which require funding and better technology to grow.
This 2019 elections, Indian small businesses are more aware, more alert and are making their demands heard. To give them a louder voice, we have started our own campaign IAMMSME.in. If you have a small business, you know we care about you. Make your voice heard, be the voice your business needs. Vote for the right party, and make your demands.
This elections, Be The Voice of your Business. #BeTheVoiceOfMSMEs