New Delhi: The strong growth in the Indian economy has spurred membership for the three apex national chambers, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, (Assocham) over the last three years.
While the Indian economy has grown more than 8% in the last three years, the highest growth in membership has been seen in the Assocham, which has reported a 100% increase in its direct membership in the same period, led by corporate membership. Its membership has grown from 500 in fiscal 2005 to 1,400 in fiscal 2007, the highest level in 30 years.
“Our membership was stagnant for a long time,’’ said D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham. The surge “is largely because many multi-national and Indian companies from the new economy sectors, such as telecom, information technology and real estate, are joining industry bodies to protect their interests,” he said.
TDI Infrastructure Ltd, Telsima Communications Ltd and Russian telecom company Summa Telecom Ltd are some of the new members of of Associated Chambers this past year.
“We want to enter the Indian telecom market,’’ said Koshkin Sergey, a director on Summa Telecom’s board. Rs.Rs.We joined Associated Chambers of Commerce to lobby for our entry into India.”
There are no caps on the number of members an industry body will accept. But they charge a fee for the membership, which can vary, depending on the organization, from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3 lakh. Both companies and other associations of industry can be members. The lowest fee charged is by the apex industry body, CII whereas the highest is by the Assocham.
FICCI’s revenue from membership will touch Rs 8-Rs9 crore in its year ending July. Its total revenue for the period is expected to be around Rs 80 crore. Assocham declined to give its revenue figures. It claims revenue from membership contributes to 50% of its total revenue, whereas CII said only about 10% of its Rs 140 crore revenue, or about Rs 14 crore, comes from membership fees.
The industry associations make the rest of their money undertaking industry studies commissioned by the government or from organizing seminars and events.
Most associations act as a go-between industries and the government and lobby for changes in policy that are pro-industry. The oldest of India’s chambers is the FICCI, which was set up in 1927, on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi. It was used to stoke economic nationalism in the pre-indpendence era.
CII has seen a 15% average growth in its membership in the last three years. Real estate developers, Emaar MGF Land Ltd, Zoom Developers Ltd and Wadhawan Food Retail Ltd are some of the companies which joined the organisation in fiscal 2007.
“Being part of an industry body will help us in making our voice felt,” an Emaar MGF spokesperson, said.
“Our membership has grown steadily. We have around 7000 members now,” the CII spokesperson said.
In the last three years, the Federation of Indian Chambers has seen a 25% growth in corporate membership from 1,600 through July 2005 to 2,000 members so far this year. The industry body’s membership now represents diverse companies such as Bombay Dyeing Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Ltd, Coal India Ltd and Microsoft Corp
Meanwhile, some members do resign though in small numbers, all three chambers said. The reasons for leaving range from the companies doing poorly to deciding that the membership is not worth it.