Opinion | Changing the Indian state from bully to ally
Our 60,000-plus employer compliance universe that changes 5,000-plus times a year makes India a hostile habitat for MSME job creation
A dictionary suggests that a bully is “someone who frightens someone else" and an ally is “someone who helps and supports someone else". Do our 63 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) view the Indian state as a bully or an ally? Policy imagination and rhetoric often romanticize MSMEs over large employers because it believes that MSMEs are a source of massive job creation, are the salvation of less-skilled job seekers, and embody solid middle-class values. But MSMEs can’t hear what policymakers say because of what they do—unleashing a universe of 60,000-plus possible compliances and 3,300-plus possible filings for enterprises. We would like to make the case for massive regulatory rationalization, simplification and digitalization because no MSME can possibly keep track of this regulatory cholesterol that is made even more toxic by 5,000-plus changes annually.