newsdog Facebook

Poor prognosis for Meghalaya

Shillong Times 2018-07-12 07:13:22

Poor prognosis for Meghalaya


It is not shocking to learn that Meghalaya is the least favoured destination for doing business. There are wheels within wheels for those wishing to become entrepreneurs. Firstly the banks are averse to funding first generation entrepreneurs. Meghalaya is not an industrial state in the real sense and can do without smoke-stacked industries but for a long time the State has toyed with the idea of it becoming the Information Technology capital of the country. This is the perfect industry for Meghalaya as it is clean and smokeless and it has the potential to absorb many of the young IT professionals who are currently working outside the state. For reasons best known to the successive governments this idea has never taken shape perhaps because the license-permit raj is still alive and kicking in the State.

In the earlier MUA Government a single window clearance facility was created for quick vetting of projects and to ensure that the ‘sarkari’ delay is avoided. But did that happen? Industrialists, investors in the tourism sector and budding entrepreneurs still had to go from pillar to post and perhaps even grease some palms. Files did not move otherwise.

But what Meghalaya lacks most are venture capitalists who stake their money on a project they believe in. According to a report by the venture debt fund InnoVen Capital, deal activity by angel groups in India has grown significantly in 2016, amounting to Rs 113.7 crores across 69 deals, as compared to Rs 70.3 crores across 47 companies in 2015. This is a something to cheer about as the angel network which was absent four to five years ago is strengthening now. Several new investment avenues and platforms are opening up for entrepreneurs who need help to convert their ideas into businesses. Meghalaya has to build networks with High Net Individuals (HNI’s), executives of Indian and Multi National Corporations (MNC’s) and industrialists, including our own wealthy businessmen/women to come together to form angel groups. What is also hampering growth of businesses is the land tenure system which is tied up in knots and is nearly always transacted in a non-transparent manner.  Industry and entrepreneurship both require land but that does not necessarily mean that land should be alienated. Partnerships ought to be built with tribal land owners on very clear terms. Only this will help create entrepreneurs and in turn generate employment.