Mar 24, 2012

Niryat Bandhu - Handholding experiment for new exporters

Niryat Bandhu scheme is being devised by DGFT office. The last foreign trade policy (you can find it here) talks about this scheme in the following words:

"‘Niryat Bandhu’ - A scheme for International Business Mentoring 
We are devising a novel ‘Niryat Bandhu’ scheme for mentoring first generation entrepreneurs. The officer (Niryat Bandhu) would function in the ‘Mentoring’ arena and would be a ‘Handholding’ experiment for the Young Turks in International Business enterprises. Under the scheme, officers of DGFT will be investing Time and Knowledge primarily to mentor the interested individuals who want to conduct the business in a legal way. Over time, it would be expected to develop a class of businessmen who carry out the international business in an ethical manner."

It is an excellent idea. The way forward for our economy is through entrepreneurship. One of the challenges is to provide a conducive environment for start-ups to prosper. There are many steps taken by various departments. I personally find the website by National e-governance plan on Doing business in India a very good place to start for a new entrepreneur. It addresses all the aspects of business, right from setting up a new business, development and expansion in India and abroad, and even closure of business. The links within this site takes one to all the relevant websites of various departments that come in picture while conducting business. 

However, there is a need for professional help, in person, for new entrepreneurs who want to expand business abroad. The jungle of rules and laws, implemented by various departments, can confuse any new entrant making him dependent, at times, on shady middlemen who might do the work in ways that might not be optimum for the business. At such times, having an angel guide, who is from within the government, and who can mentor in these areas would go a long way. This kind of interface and handholding was long overdue. 

What stands out in the paragraph are the words 'mentoring', 'handholding', 'investing time and knowledge' and 'conducting business in a legal way...in an ethical manner'. 

I hope the scheme is elaborated in the coming foreign trade policy and we see it develop into a full-fledged part of the foreign trade policy of India. Let a million businesses bloom.

Update on Jan 2014: The Niryat Bandhu scheme is being implemented by various DGFT offices across India. To start with, they are conducting monthly introductory programs for new entrants into foreign trade. No fee is charged for these programs. DGFT offices are also actively collaborating with universities, colleges and trade associations to further develop the program under Niryat Bandhu. Laudable.