Nirmala Sitharaman meets Indian CEOs at SPIEF

Nirmala Sitharaman meets Indian CEOs at SPIEF

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed a MoU with the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The MoU signals a new partnership between the two chambers to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation between India and Russia. The MoU was signed during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) which is being held in St. Petersburg, Russia from June 18-20, 2015.

A CII CEOs delegation led by Mr Sumit Mazumder, President, CII comprising of leading Indian companies is participating at SPIEF and at the India Russia Business Roundtable.

CII CEOs Delegation also interacted with Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (IC) during their visit. The members shared their experience at SPIEF and also discussed the potential for collaboration with their Russian counterparts. The CII President highlighted the immense opportunity that SPIEF offers for Indian businessmen to network with their Russian counterparts and understand the dynamics of the Russian market. He said that every year new companies from India join the delegation to explore business opportunities.

Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII stated that CII is working closely with its partner institutions in Russia to bolster trade and commerce and SPIEF provides an excellent platform. He further added that CII will explore bringing sectoral delegations to Russia and to the regions.

Members of the delegation who shared their business interests and activities in Russia included Essar, Sun Group, Dr Reddys Labs, L&T, Rajshree Sugars & Chemicals, Asia Motor Works, M3M, Innovest India, among others.

Some of the issues raised the meeting included the possibility of Rupee-Rouble trade, financing for oil trade, barter trade in commodities etc.

The Commerce Minister highlighted the efforts being taken by the government to address these issues with the Russian government. She stated that the Russian Government was keen to engage with India and Indian businesses more aggressively. She was of the view that Indian companies should focus on specific business issues and share it with the government and embassy, so that an appropriate platform can be created to address and resolve these issues. She reiterated the commitment of the government to help wherever possible.

  • Defining E – Commerce

    A report in Hindustan Times ( 15 July 2015 ) talks about a series of
    meetings expected to be held today between Commerce Minister and
    different stake-holders , to define ” e-Commerce ”

    I am reminded of the story of the 7 blind men , each trying to describe an
    elephant by touching different limbs of the animal

    It was obvious they could not arrive at a commonly agreed upon description,
    since their perceptions differed

    Before trying to define ” e-Commerce ” , we must first define ” Commerce ”

    In pre-historic times , persons produced whatever they needed to survive

    Then they learned to ” barter ” things produced by each other

    The only concepts were , ” need ” and ” surplus ”

    That lead to introduction of a concept called ” Value ” , which manifested itself in the form of a stick , a weapon , a goat or a piece of animal skin , till it became , some sort of coin

    When barter gave way to an exchange of some goods ( or service ) , for its perceived ” Value ” ( as measured in coins ) , it became ” Commerce ”

    So , we can conclude that :

    ” E – Commerce ” is nothing more than ” Commerce ” , where such exchange of values , take place electronically , as opposed to physically . It still remains Commerce , even when perceptions differ

    Hence , regulations / controls / taxation etc that govern E-Commerce should , essentially remain the same as in case of Commerce

    Ditto for FDI in e-Commerce

    Mere elimination of an intermediary ( Distributor / Wholesaler / Dealer / Agent / Stockist etc ) , from the ” Supply Chain ” , itself cannot be the determining criteria

    A few years back , when General Motors , tried to sell its cars to end-customers , directly from its own web site , thousands of its Brick-and-Mortar dealers protested and even threatened General Motors

    GM had to back-out against the vested interests !

    But when Michael Dell started manufacturing computers in his garage , he took orders on his telephone and later , on his own web site.

    He never appointed any dealers . This model became a roaring success and heralded the beginning of E-Commerce era ( read , ” Direct from Dell ” )

    Under present guidelines , I suppose , India would allow Dell to set up a wholly-owned , local manufacturing facility , with 100 % FDI

    Now , if Dell starts selling those India-made computers , directly to end-consumers , from its own web site , would not that be E-Commerce ?

    An e-Commerce with 100 % FDI ?

    And what about 100 % FDI by FoxConn ( Taiwan ) , wanting to set up 10 factories in India , to manufacture electronics goods , not only for Foreign giants like Apple / Samsung etc but also for local brands such as Micromax ?

    Shall we insist that FoxConn cannot deliver such goods directly to Indian consumers , based on orders received on , not only web sites of Amazon / e-Bay but also on local web sites of Flipkart / SnapDeal etc ?

    It is unfortunate that we , in India , always look-up to the discoveries / inventions taking place in the West ( – and in Japan / South Korea etc )

    Had we encouraged Prof Jhunjhunwala ( IIT – Madras ) , we could be today , delivering internet thru common electric outlet in every home , at speeds of 100 mb ! That would have Digitized India , 5 years ago !

    When ISRO sent MOM ( Mars Orbiting Mission ) , it did not call it a ” Space Ship ”

    As long as the concept of ” Ship ” defines our thought processes , we will continue to ” Sail in a Sea ” – never to traverse the ” Space ” !

    hemen parekh
    15 July , 2015
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