Indian youth today are showing a very welcome penchant for business start-ups, which has been strengthening the existence of MSMEs since 2001 and helping the sector to become much more organized and progressive. As a young nation, India is clearly in transition and MSMEs are central to this economic renaissance. Underlining the importance of MSMEs, the government has recently taken a giant step by relaxing the registration of business processes, also known as “Udayam registration”.
This will promote entrepreneurship in India and motivate first generation entrepreneurs to register and help uphold the ambitious mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The first five years of any entrepreneur are very crucial and so the government’s easing of the registration process has certainly taken some of the burden off their shoulders and allowed them to focus more on business resilience and sustainability.
While the simplicity of the registration process is welcomed by both MSMEs and first-generation entrepreneurs, they also expect more relaxation in the coming years as the process continues. As it is not a one-time process and requires annual updates such as aadhaar linkage, organizational changes, new hires or even the relocation update.
While this announcement ensures easy registration for MSMEs across the country, it is important to ensure that the following notices are implemented for its proper functioning:
Even after the announcement, most business owners remain unclear about the entire process. The government needs to raise awareness that highlights the importance of Udyam registration and disseminate information about MSME programs and their benefits for small businesses, as well as know-how about public procurement policies. Workshops, webinars, and master classes can be conducted with entrepreneurs based on their industry or geography to help them understand the benefits related to the Udhyam registration process. The government should educate entrepreneurs that by registering as MSME / SSI (“Small Scale Industries”) under the MSMED Act, they are entitled to certain benefits such as exemption from overdraft interest, eligible for industry promotion subsidies, etc.
Restricted and restricted access to electricity and internet in rural areas remains a major obstacle to the promotion of MSMEs. According to the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, almost 51% of Indian MSMEs are located in rural areas. Therefore, a fully digitized registration process needs to be supported by appropriate training, master classes and workshops to ensure proper communication so that it can be carried out on site by those who need it most. An essential factor here is ease of use, ie the entire registration process must be user-friendly. If you look at other apps like Tik Tok or Instagram, you can see that these have simply prevailed on the back of their user friendliness. If the digitized MSME process for Udhyam registration isn’t as simple as using social media, it may not help stakeholders. Another consideration should be that the registration process should be available in local dialects, which will make it easier to understand in such rural areas.
India reported 1.16 million cybersecurity cases in 2020, three times more than in 2019, according to government data presented in parliament. Very often MSMEs feel that uploading their personal documents like Aadhaar or Pan Card could leave them vulnerable to any kind of cyber threat or lead to the theft of their data. This keeps them from registering online and therefore tends to stay away from it by sticking to the long offline processes. The security of such processes must therefore be thoroughly communicated to the parties concerned and they must be made aware of the advantages of these processes. While NSDL eGovernance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL eGov), which provides various eGovernance services to the nation’s citizens on behalf of the government, is raising awareness of how customers can self-register, it also needs to be tracked quickly for better implementation the new registration policy and to make it easier for rural entrepreneurs to adapt the digitized method.
As the government has started to focus on strengthening entrepreneurship in the country, it also needs to be complemented by reforms that allow entrepreneurs to work collectively and use a sounding board to focus on on unique challenges, growth modules, advice and implementation.
Not only will this encourage and drive a New Age entrepreneur to realize their entrepreneurial ambitions, but it will also help the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem better understand government policies, the changing economic space and its impact on different industries, and learning too from different experiences.
(The author is head of the ASCENT Foundation)