Friday, October 7, 2022

Panel Discussion 4: Role of ICT Associations in Solving Issues

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This Panel Discussion, held during the 14th NCN-ICT Summit and Gaming Insight Awards 2022 Event held on Aug 26 at Hotel Crowne Plaza, New Delhi, focused on various measures undertaken by different IT associations across the country to create a healthy and safe ecosystem for partners and the ICT business in the country. IT associations play a vital role in promoting and nurturing healthy relations between the supply chain partners, vendors and the government. ICT associations also educate the partners on the govt policies and run awareness campaigns for them. The main aim of the IT associations at the regional as well as national levels is to encourage, promote and safeguard the business interests of the member companies engaged in selling, trading and distributing ICT products, solutions and services. In this panel discussion, the representatives of IT associations discussed how they are coordinating with the national and regional associations, members and the governments.

Moderator: Mr Sukanta Dey (B.Tech. in IT from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Kolkata).

The panelists (all present physically):  Mr. Devesh Rastogi, President, FAIITA; Mr. Alok Gupta, Chairman, ISODA; Mr. Alok Gupta, President, PCAIT; Mr. Viren Bavishi, President, TAIT; and Mr. Hitesh Patni, President, FITAG.

While starting the session, Mr. Sukanta Dey stressed on the importance of the regional and national associations to uphold the larger interest of the IT trade and act as a forum where the challenges of IT businesses are heard, understood and resolved. He briefed on how the IT associations act as platforms that help to encourage and promote the interests of IT partners.

Mr. Devesh Rastogi of FAIITA, “FAIITA has been founded about 8 years back as an umbrella association of national and regional associations to defend the interests of the partners across India. When FAIITA was formed, it was the time the online vs offline issues were at their peak and online business started hurting the offline. After FAIITA started negotiating, a lot of brands changed their pricing strategies in favor of the offline channel. We settled the matters in most cases in favor of the offline. FAIITA aims to resolve the issues and protect the larger interests of channel community at the regional and national levels.”

Mr. Alok Gupta of PCAIT, “PCAIT is an 18-year old organization whose members include regional distributors and national distributors, SIs—all big and small. We do due diligence to protect the interests of the members while negotiating with OEMs and other associates. Our primary aim is to protect the weakest members while also taking care of the stronger members’ interests, because strong and wealthy partners often have the means and power to protect themselves and smaller and weaker members are often at the receiving end. Anybody can become a member of PCAIT just by requisitioning. PCAIT also plays a key role in negotiating with the govt on policy matters. We resolved Rs 13 crore payment-related issues successfully.”

Mr. Viren Bavishi of TAIT, “We are a 26-year-old association and we regularly conduct awareness and training activities and update the members on the latest challenges and do arbitration for disputes. We try to resolve the payment-related issues of the members promptly and effectively. TAIT also played a key role in the formation of FAIITA, the leading national umbrella IT association.”

Mr. Hitesh Patni of FITAG, “FITAG conducts regular training and awareness programs for member associations. FITAG has come up with a monthly magazine that keeps the members updated about the various developments, govt policies, issues, etc. FITAG also liaisons with the Gujarat govt and plays a pivotal role in designing and changing the IT policies.”

Mr. Hitesh Patni of FITAG, “We have about 42 local associations in Gujarat as members of FITAG. In a year, we do 40 different activities to update the members about the developments in the industry, upskilling the members, etc. We try our best to stand by our members when it comes to resolving payment-related issues with OEMs, online vs offline pricing issues, etc. We also work closely with the Gujarat govt to see that the policies are drafted or amended in line with the interests of the partners.”

Mr. Alok Gupta of ISODA, “At ISODA, we try to harmonize the relationships between software vendors and software partners and see to that the payments will take place in a healthy manner and piracy is prevented. We are doing our best to curb software counterfeiting and piracy are among the biggest challenges in the ICT industry since the beginning which are causing a lot of loss to the original product providers. ISODA is trying its best to strengthen the ethical standards and protect the smaller and weaker players in the market.”

Mr. Devesh Rastogi of FAIITA, “We are working closely with the govt to help the manufacturers to set up plants in India to boost Make in India and change the policies related to GeM in order to reduce cartelization.  We also advice the members in general not to take all the promises of the brands for granted as some brands do resort to unfair practices. It has been observed some OEMs are also knowingly allowing pirated software, particularly, MS Office to be used.”

Mr. Alok Gupta of PCAIT, “There were cases where some unscrupulous vendor selling refurbished laptops as new ones and earning big profit margins. We received more than 30 such complaints and we initiated actions against them.”

In a nutshell

The IT associations in India are trying their best to maintain and nurture cordial relationships between members, vendors and the government. The associations try to help the weaker members during tough times. They also try to check counterfeit products from spreading in the market and try to identify and prevent fraudulent businessmen who can harm the interests of the honest players in the market.


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