Kunal Bahl is co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal
The Indian e-commerce industry is at the confluence of 'Make in India' and 'Digital India', and is set to become a $100-billion industry in the next five years. It will not just meet the aspirations of consumers from across the country but will also create tremendous employment opportunities for all participating businesses such as logistics companies and small enterprises. The e-commerce industry was explicitly mentioned in the last Budget as a focus industry. We hope the industry finds prominent mention in the upcoming Budget as well, given its positive impact on our country.
One of the key areas that was discussed in the last Budget was Goods and Services Tax (GST). The asymmetric entry tax regimes followed by the states pose one of the biggest challenges for the e-commerce industry. It impedes deliveries to the consumers in these states and thereby causes distress to consumers and businesses who sell online. Implementation of GST is expected to be a part of this Budget. This will enable friction-free trade between states for small businesses selling online and bring about increase in efficiency of commerce in India, something that 'Digital India' aims to achieve.
We have a significant value drain happening from India with majority of new start-ups incorporating outside the country given the relatively simpler tax regimes, ease of doing business and raising capital. 'Make in India' pertains to software product companies in India as well and the government has an excellent opportunity to retain these innovative, entrepreneurial companies in India through various 'ease of doing business' initiatives.
To conclude, given the multi-fold growth that the e-commerce and the overall start-up industry has seen in the last 12 months, the impact and value that entrepreneurial technology businesses have been able to create, we expect that this Budget will be positive and forward looking for the industry as the whole.
The author is co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal