IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

Summary: I’m one of the several million frustrated Indian citizens, angry at the government for their lack of effort and at the companies who come up with newer ways of providing us with service that only gets worse. There are specific examples that make me believe that the problem has a lot to do with the wrong people at the jobs, either that or they simply lack the willingness to improve things in India.

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I’m one of the several million frustrated Indian citizens, angry at the government for their lack of effort and at the companies who come up with newer ways of providing us with service that only gets worse. There are specific examples that make me believe that the problem has a lot to do with the wrong people at the jobs, either that or they simply lack the willingness to improve things in India. Here are four instances whichare amusing as to why haven't the people in a position to better things done so:

1. RBI vs PayPal

For someone who spends quite a bit of my time on the Internet, PayPal as a service is very helpful. PayPal is a simple Internet service that allows you transfer money, all you need to have is a Credit Card associated with your account. There are many users like me who’ve closely watched the RBI vs PayPal issue over the past months. For some reason RBI won’t let PayPal function normally, they seem to have some regulatory issues with it.

For a country where ecommerce and micro financing is being seen as a way to make lives of people easier, RBI’s rules and regulations seem to be more of a curse.

2. You can’t buy software on Microsoft campus

So I visited one of Microsoft’s biggest campuses – MSIDC at Hyderabad. Hopeful that I’ll be able to purchase a few copies of software at a discounted rate I was excited. My excitement didn’t last long since there is a law that forbids Microsoft from selling their own products on their campus unless they register themselves as a retailer of some sort. This law is so absurd that I haven’t even bothered to look into it. A company like Microsoft investing millions into India and then they can’t directly sell their products.

Note: I’m taking Microsoft as an example since I’m aware of them being under the restriction.

3. Mobile Number Portability, 3G and 4G

After months of wait India finally saw a successful bidding process for 3G. First it’s quite sad that despite the mobile penetration in India we haven’t got 3G as yet, secondly, Mobile Number Portability is still a distant dream. While this is a more complex issue because no service provider wants to lose customers the government has taken no strong steps to ensure roll out of the service.

4. Broadband

A few months back I had a very interesting chat with blogger friend of mine from across the border. Apparently, broadband in India is worse than that in Pakistan. High prices and laughable speeds with outrageous data limits is what the Indian consumer gets. Despite this, we have managed to make ourselves a name as an IT hub. In this case too, the government has shown no interest to impose on service providers to change their ways. I publish this post via a 512kbps connection that is capped at 20GB bandwidth per month.

I guess, this makes for a good excuse to make to my editor.

Wrong people delegating authority to other wrong people

Either people are lacking the motivation or aren’t sure of how to accelerate progress. Seeing the development in the field government feels the need to regulate several aspects not realizing that the very freedom they are stifling was the reason why Indians were able to excel in this field.

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Government, Government US, Hardware, Mobility, Wi-Fi

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

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  • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

    1) Every country's reserve bank has some regulations & the corporations are supposed to follow them. This is done to save the local banking services & local industries. You are looking at this from a user point of view or a Techie. However, if you ask a banker about this issue he will tell you from his point of view as why the policy of Paypal doesn't fit our needs.

    Look at the problem from both sides, not just from a Techie's point of view.

    2) Every company which wants to sale its product in India, has to register itself as a retail company & pay sales tax & other taxes accordingly. Without this, any company can come & sale there product in India soil without paying any tax to Government. Its not a wrong law, its there to save the local industries. MS doesn't sale there own product in campus or directly but they sale through distributer who pay tax to government.

    3) Every telecommunication decision is made after taking into account many other factors. Rolling out 3G isn't that easy as it takes installation of completely new infrastructure while India is still very efficiently using the old 2.5G compliant hardware backend. You will be amazed to know how much work BSNL is able to take out from old machines at minuscule cost for today's industry. Besides, until Indian Army was able to jump to 4G, 3G wasn't rolled out as defense department is always one step ahead of consumers in terms of technology.

    4) If India has unlimited broadband, then India also has leechers who download day & night & increase piracy. FUP is wrong, but limit is good. I am myself using Tata Indicom with 100GB monthly bandwidth & despite of heavy downloading which also includes piracy, I am not able to deplete it.

    Ask yourself, do you really need more then say 40 GB monthly bandwidth if you are not pirating and downloading illegal movies , music or games.

    Unlimited is just a vogue term. It has no meaning today. Even with unlimited usage you won't download a lot.

    5) Politicians are not as unaware of technology & things out there as we think they are. They got highly educated people working for them who are the ones actually running India.

    Decisions have to be made keeping in mind that India is a democracy & in democracy you have to find a way to make everyone happy.
    gxsaurav
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @gxsaurav said: "Without this, any company can come & sale there product in India soil without paying any tax to Government. Its not a wrong law, its there to save the local industries." So, it's okay to destroy industries in other countries by taking their jobs, but it isn't okay to sell in India because that might harm local industries? Seems to be a bit hypocritical to me.
      ExEm2SS
      • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

        @ExEm2SS No, the rule isn't like that. 'Retail' sector is not open yet. MS needs a local partner to sell directly. Right now, their partners can import from US and sell. This helps US export and so I don't think you'd complain ;)

        The no retail rule is to prevent entry of Walmart. (Yes, thats the case) Walmart CEO keeps visiting India, meeting our PM and lobbying for entry approval. Problem is that if Walmart opens malls in India, many Indian unorganized small shop keepers will get out of business over night and they won't even know what has hit them. This is to protect 40% of the population from Walmart and the likes.

        Walmart revenue = India's GDP. So, we're still not ready for organized retailing. :)
        samunplugged
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      look look http://www.bizboysell.com
      itkonlyyou217
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @gxsaurav
      Fantastic reply...A mature view point to an immature blog content..
      deepeshsivasankaran@...
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @gxsaurav
      1. A banker will always be against paypal because he looses the high transaction charges & irrational forex rate that are applied on every transaction. There are two key issue with RBI that prevent paypal transactions. It is not technology ready and there is a lobby of local financial institutions preventing it to do so.
      2. As for Microsoft or IBM selling products in India, the current FDI law does not permit selling them directly and they have to sell it through channel partners.
      3. Telecommunication decisions in India (Read Scams) - No technology upgradations have stopped 3G and mobile number portability from rolling out. If you do some basic research, you will figure out why. BSNL was the first entrant in 3G but did not capitalize it at all. Bharti and Reliance were one of the early adopters of technology upgradations and waiting for the govt to sign on the dotted line.
      4. Unlimited Broadband - Are you still stuck up at internet usage to download movies and pirated softwares... you need to upgrade yourself. With sites like flixters, itunes and youtube, you can watch / buy movies online. (legally). Ever heard of the new range of sony / samsung lcds through with you can watch movies online, access facebook, tweet. Use a search engine and you will soon realize the meaning of unlimited.
      5. Have you ever worked with a politician or a bureaucrat in India responsible for a technology implementation or procurement? I had been through the nighmare. You will soon more than realize on why egovernance projects either do not take off, are half implemented or once implemented, never upgraded in ten years.
      There was absolutely no upgradation of the passport front office and back office applications which forced the ministry of external affairs to outsource a critical administration work to a private company like TCS. If TCS can do it , why cant govt do it on their own.
      Realization of issues and flaws is half way through resolution. If you want to sugar coat everything, have candy.
      The meaning of democracy is for the people, not for a segment of corporates or bunch of politicians.
      - Ravi
      ravigandhi@...
  • India will not allow PayPal

    India has always made it difficult to send money out of India. Allowing PayPal to operate normally will make it easy for people to send money out. They will not allow it.

    Scott
    http://india.4you.com/
    smarq2
  • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

    The broadband point is ********. Plans are available for as high as 16 and 32 MBPS. Just because your office has 512KBPS, don't assume thats the max. There are unlimited plans, where speed drops beyond 100GB download, but you do get unlimited cap. Just like another commenter said, 100GB is good enough for a normal person. These are all residential plans. You can of course get business broadband plans with true unlimited download.
    sivaprasad
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @sivaprasad residential connection, not office. I know that's not the max but when you talk about broadband it not just how cap there is or what the max speed is, there really is no point in an internet connection that offers 8mbps speeds but is capped at 10GB. That's what I get in Bombay.

      Before you bring in MTNL/BSNL, Bombay offers MTNL only, the stability and support response is horrific, yes I've used it.
      Manan Kakkar
  • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

    I don't think the 2nd point make any sense. How can you sell anything if you are not registered as a retailer?? What happens to sales tax.

    BTW, Microsoft already sells its products via its India website, most major companies also do the same. And why you expect a discount from the campus, the campus may not working on the product that you want to buy.
    Raju Das
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @rdsm if they can sell it via their website then why can't they sell it on the campus? And why discount, well the other merchandise such as clothes, bags etc. are available at a discount at the campus store :)
      Manan Kakkar
  • Discount at company stores

    If you are talking about a university campus store, then yes they should be able to sell to you at a discount. That's the way it works in the US, but you have to be a registered student to get the discount price. Otherwise you pay standard retail prices. The Microsoft stores in the US don't sell at a discount to anyone that isn't an employee. It sounds to me like you are asking for discounts you aren't entitled to.
    trybble1
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @trybble1 I went to the campus as a guest and was entitled to buy products from the store but I didn't since they had no software on sale. As a Microsoft MVP we had the privilege to buy at employee rates. :)
      Manan Kakkar
  • In Tiajuana, a painted donkey is a zebra

    It's fascinating to see the article immediately answered with a laundry list of excuses. The people that make such an issue of 'free market' (or trade, or borders, whatever) have no business whining when people who actually believe in such things manage to slip in any observations of (I'll be polite) inconsistencies.

    Follow the money. It's ALWAYS about the money. An incoherently corrupt system is never going to 'do the right thing', and no flood of rhetoric or subject-flipping or aggrieved attacks is going to give the emperor any clothes at all.
    semi-adult
  • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

    Hate to be pedantic ... but there is a term is apparently being misused by several commentators on the article....

    "I publish this post via a 512kbps connection that is capped at 20GB bandwidth per month."

    20 GB bandwidth?
    As a Electronics engineer.. I find it amusing that people with tech backgrounds are confusing "bandwidth" with " Data cap" or "Data limit".
    Bandwidth definition:
    The data transfer capacity of a network. It is measured in bits per second.

    Your bandwidth is 512kps..
    Your data cap is 20GB per month..

    Or is this another example of non-tech people (marketing, etc..) using the wrong term - in a pervasive manner.

    sorta like .. "turbo charged" is used in advertising (of products that have no turbine) ?
    jrlambert
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @jrlambert fair enough. My mistake.
      Manan Kakkar
  • You're young, yet. You'll learn.

    Wide-eyed idealism is a difficult thing to surrender to clear-eyed realism, and the change can be devastating to many, but the reality is that those like you who naturally view the world as a meritocracy are wrong.<br><br>Perhaps once/if you ever attain a position of power or authority, you will conduct yourself more honestly and selflessly than those who now impede your progress. Until then, you might benefit from knowing that those who stand in your way do so out of no other motivation than self-enrichment. That's right, they're trying to defend nothing so much as their 'right' to hold hostage whatever might benefit you.<br><br>Naturally, they will always have arguments, some of which may actually be, or at least appear to be reasonable enough, but the ultimate reason you will find for any resistance is 'because I can'. And the only way to grease the wheels of commerce in such a situation is to grease the palms of those in power.<br><br>As counter-intuitive as it may seem, and the opinions of the UN (itself demonstrably far too corrupt to be trusted with such information) notwithstanding, the least corrupt nation on the planet at the moment is the United States. And before you point out all the reports of corruption, consider how and why you even know of such corruption: Because it is such a big deal there; because it is (still) so offensive to the American character, that when any corruption is exposed, it's big news.<br><br>In most of the world, corruption is not only so commonplace as to be unworthy of headlines, but is, in some places, even considered a virtue. A survey of French voters regarding their politicians' indiscretions, for example, revealed that the overwhelming opinion was that a person in power who did not use his office to benefit himself in some way was clearly too incompetent to hold that office, and, furthermore, that if they got caught, it was an indication of over-zealousness on the part of the reporter, or carelessness on the part of the politician.<br><br>It's quite an evil world we live in, but, once you understand that, you can negotiate your path through it much better, and, perhaps, build better karma at least for yourself along the way, maybe even set an example for others to follow.
    Gaius_Maximus
  • dude, you need to know India or research before writing

    1. PayPal v/s RBI: RBI needs to prevent money laundering rule. And prevent money transfer to anti-social elements like terrorist outfits. It needs to keep track of foreign exchange reserves. And IT tax department needs to know why money is coming to your account - if people are exporting services using freelance websites, do people even have export license to do so?
    2. Microsoft/Retail: Please learn about foreign direct investment before boring us with your visit to MS campus in the cyber city. India is not ready to welcome foreign retailers because we need to protect small shop keepers from likes of Walmart. Nothing is preventing MS to do business here, they can find a partner and sell directly. They don't want a partner, so they just export it.
    3. MPN: Is it so important for you now? You can change ur number and inform your friends and colleagues and clients about the change. Thats how its been working for 100 long years. You won't die without it.
    4. Broadband:
    BSNL unlimited data plans for home users: http://bsnl.co.in/service/new_BB/BB_home_only_unlim.htm
    BSNL WiMax:
    http://bsnl.co.in/service/wimax/wimax_homepage.htm
    And if you are still unhappy there are over dozen options in each area. If you are stuck in a location where you can't find good broadband, its time to relocate.
    Phew? next time do some real research.
    samunplugged
    • RE: IT progress in India is still stifled by people in power

      @samunplugged BSNL is not available in Bombay we have MTNL here and it's support and Internet consistency is horrible, I've used it.<br><br>wrt MPN: I like my current number but not my Airtel. Period.<br><br>wrt MSFT Retail well, you have your point of view, I find it absurd.
      Manan Kakkar
  • my penny's worth

    I agree to an extent with both the post and the first reply. I agree about the data transfer cap with sam. Let us also remember that RBI is the institution that has been credited with keeping India afloat when many other economies were going down during the (ongoing?) financial crisis.
    However it is true that the telecom department can do with a lot of improvements, transparency being one of them. Let there not be any discussions that the conduct of the minister has not been sterling.
    WHY does one need to buy software from the principal only? But sam, I disagree with you on the MNP thing. I do not know how many times you have changed your number but its a pain telling your friends and all about the new number. I believe that measure is long overdue in India. The Indian telecom market is extremely competitive because of the number of players and this has driven the costs down drastically. Let them compete on the quality of service front also.
    ChaitanyaV