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A Reliable Advisor to Indian MSMEs: How Rana Kapoor Led Yes Bank’s YES GST programme

Among the institutions which actively enabled for a smooth transition to GST, Yes Bank was at the forefront. Its Founder and then-MD & CEO at the time of the implementation of GST, Rana Kapoor, called it the “most significant reform since liberalization in 1991” and showed faith in its potential to “envisage ‘One Economic India’”.

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Rana Kapoor

With the enactment of GST on 1 July 2017, the Indian taxation system entered a regime of One Nation, One Tax. The erstwhile tax structure levied taxes, direct and indirect, from anywhere between 25% to 40%. GST reconstituted the brackets and consolidated them into four slots of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. The nature of this change was so huge that the talk of a common goods and service tax within the financial circles went as back as the 1990s. Decades passed between studies, planning and crafting in order to make GST a reality for the Indian tax system.

Such an amount of time and consideration was necessitated by the fact that this particular reform would also require significant overhaul of economic, financial and industrial infrastructure in India. Among the institutions which actively enabled for a smooth transition to GST, Yes Bank was at the forefront. Its Founder and then-MD & CEO at the time of the implementation of GST, Rana Kapoor, called it the “most significant reform since liberalization in 1991” and showed faith in its potential to “envisage ‘One Economic India’”.

The Bank initiated the “YES GST” programme under Rana Kapoor to empower and enable  MSMEs shift to the new system with full efficiency. At the launch, he stated, “This is a reform that can create anywhere between 2.5-3% incremental GDP growth benefits after 2-3 years”. Through the bank’s YES GST initiative, he affirmed, “MSMEs are the backbone of the economy and it is vital to ensure that they are GST prepared. Yes Bank has followed a unique knowledge-based approach that provides its stakeholders with well-informed and customized solutions.”

Some major roadblocks in the path to smooth transition included the operational change as well as state-wide registration of bank branches and transactions. With GST infrastructure, bank registration no longer remained centralized, which in effect, necessitated that cross-state intra-bank transactions would also be taxed. Further, the cost of up-scaling, employee training, policy redesign and complete revamp of registration compliance posed an immense challenge to the industry.

While the institutions with much larger transaction flow could easily offset any adverse effect of GST, the small and the micro industries needed a formidable helping hand. Taking up the responsibility, Rana Kapoor focused Yes bank’s policies and schemes to aid and empower the MSME sector first and foremost. His personal and professional oversight of the Yes GST scheme ensured that MSMEs are well-equipped to operate in the new tax regime.

By 2018, the bank had organized 100+ GST awareness workshops across the nation and aided over 9500 MSMEs through its YES GST initiative. The scheme encouraged compliance with GST by providing MSMEs with an overdraft facility of up to Rs. 1 crore based on GST returns. Yes Bank became the first in the industry to not only support the MSMEs in their transition to the unchartered territory but also to assist the government in its economic agenda.

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Under Rana Kapoor’s leadership, the bank’s engagement with the MSME sector had reached Rs. 32,500 crores by March 31, 2018. He further ensured that MSMEs got quick and effortless access to capital which effectively boosted the Indian economy through its reformatory period. Headlining the GST rollout, the bank planned a disbursement of Rs. 1,000 crores through its Yes GST for FY18-19.

Rana Kapoor’s belief in MSMEs as a crucial sector for the Indian economy was the vision behind Yes GST. He expressed, “The orientation period will be between 12 and 18 months but the fact is that the commensurate gains are going to be so disproportionately higher, that it is only a matter of time MSMEs will reap the benefits”. Driven by the vigor to empower those whom he can, his leadership both at an individual level and through his bank carved his position as an enabler of MSME sector’s growth and development.

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Rajasthan Digifest 2022 – Chitransh Jain Shake hands with famous YouTuber Amit Sharma (Crazy XYZ) & Elvish Yadav to promote the startup ecosystem

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Rajasthan DigiFest 2022, an effort of the Rajasthan government to encourage startup innovation in the state, began on Friday (August 19). At Jaipur’s Birla Auditorium, the two-day conference that aims to bring together entrepreneurs, students, and supporters of the startup community officially took place.

 Rajasthan CM Shree Ashok Gehlot Ji inaugurated the event. The DigiFest received an overwhelming response of over 15K participants on the very first day of the event.

The state’s Department of Information Technology and Communication hosts the Rajasthan DigiFest 2022, which continues to celebrate that entrepreneurial spirit by focusing a special emphasis on youth and presenting the newest technology and solutions from companies throughout the state.

It was a two-day event that strives in providing a platform for startups, industry leaders, mentors, and students as well as showcased recent developments in IT and technology which will help improvise the interaction between stakeholders in society for ease of doing business.

Chitransh Jain along with the famous YouTuber Amit Sharma of channel Crazy XYZ & Elvish Yadav visited the event to promote the startup ecosystem.

“Government initiatives, combined with technology adoption and individual efforts, are helping Rajasthan rise among the ranks of India’s top startup hubs. They will also be signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with many investors to ensure that startups in Rajasthan receive the monetary support they need to help them achieve success”, says Chitransh Jain.

A knowledge session and interaction between the influencers promoted the idea of nurturing the startup industry effectively. YouTuber Amit Sharma and Elvish Yadav interacted with the students and youngsters answering them about the know-how of the industry and how a startup will help change lives, added Chitransh.

The DigiFest also highlighted the developments in an entrepreneurial ecosystem with various knowledge sessions which will decode the present state of startups and encourage upcoming innovations in Rajasthan.

While talking about the startup ecosystem, Chitransh also highlighted the growth and revolution in the tech world. The drone, Metaverse, and Artificial Intelligence are changing the way India transacts and also the various ways technology will be helpful for the startups.

Chitransh concluded by saying, “DigiFest is a really good platform that would allow Rajasthan’s youngsters to launch themselves to become a member of the startup ecosystem and professional IT workforce. The government will be helping to provide the funds necessary for the innovators to succeed.

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All or Nothing? The Case for Regulated Online Gaming

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Online Gaming

Newspapers in India often describe online gambling as a literal “death trap” for its youth. But is that really the case, and how can the government put some order on the market?

Breaking Down Criticism of India’s Online Gaming Industry

The immense potential of India’s youth is often credited for the growth rate of its economy in recent years, as well as the expectations that the desi society has for the future. In all of this, some of the younger generations’ favorite pastimes – online and mobile games – have often been stigmatized as one of the few obstacles to brighter times.

Loud and catastrophic headlines appear in newspapers almost every day, calling out the imaginary menace. Some even claim that once a young person starts playing online games for money, they almost inevitably end up killing themselves over uncontrollable debt. This, however, pictures the desi youth as incapable of making their own decisions and taking control of their actions – quite to the contrary of any hopes the Union might have for its future.

But there is certainly more to such a short-sighted standpoint. A young person playing andar bahar for real cash at Pure Win is obviously not supposed to see this as a family tradition around festive times. Rather, they should be ashamed about it, which only worsens things if they really need help with their gameplay spending.

Occasionally, critics take a shortcut and blame the British Government for introducing gambling in India (for its tax revenues). Others point to the proliferation of online gaming during long periods of Covid-19 lockdowns when people became used to shopping, working and having fun out of their mobile phones.

Some admit that games like poker and rummy may also be a source of income for those who lost livelihoods in the digital transition. The article in question also cites a KPMG report which shows the Indian online gaming sector as the fastest growing Media and Entertainment segment, creating thousands of jobs and crores of investments and revenue.

The issue, then, is to find a way to make the best of this global phenomenon called online gaming but doing it in conditions that allow the Government to protect the average player.

Regulated Gaming Is a Foregone Conclusion – When Will India Make It?

The answer is quite simple, actually, although not so quick to deploy across State jurisdictions. Numerous market studies and best practices around the world have shown that regulation is much more effective than any sort of a ban on real-money games.

By creating (or copying) proper legislation for platforms that offer betting and online casino India will take a step towards market maturity. The only meaningful way of protecting players is to create stringent rules and requirements for licensing and impose high standards for consumer protection, even advertising.

Failing to do so will only repeat mistakes of the past. Banning alcohol, for example, has never worked and only exposed people to homemade and illicit substitutes.

Regulated real-money gaming comes with a series of safety nets – licensed and well-monitored operators (websites and apps), age and spending limits, exclusion registers. There is also much more in terms of responsible gambling policies and transparent gaming and financial operations. This is the way it has been done for years in Europe, Australia and the US. And it works.

Even those that criticize the very existence of the industry admit that things would improve with measures such as affordability checks as part of wider legislation. We have to be certain, however, that a blanket ban on Indian sites will only push people to unregulated gambling elsewhere on the internet.

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No Correlation between Suicide and Online Gaming, Experts Say

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Suicide and Online Gaming

Government officials in Tamil Nadu had asked an independent panel to evaluate the possible link between gambling and self-harm in view of banning online games. Psychiatrists say mental health is a separate issue and deserves a serious, systematic approach.

University Psychiatrist Submits Report to TN Authorities

There is no direct causal relation between indulging in online gaming and committing suicide. This is the ultimate conclusion that an independent research into the matter has reached, shedding light onto a sensitive issue that has repeatedly been a matter of public debate.

The report was requested by Tamil Nadu authorities a few months prior in an effort to justify upcoming legislation seeking to ban online games for money. However, the study – carried out by a leading Gujarati psychiatrist – revealed that there could be no possible link between playing a baccarat game online and committing suicide somewhere down the line.

Dr Sandip H. Shah, Professor of Psychiatry and Dean of the Government Medical College in Godhra, Gujarat, is the author of the elaborate “Suicide and Online Gaming” research paper. It was further peer reviewed by Dr. Ajay Chauhan, MD, the Medical Superintendent of the Ahmedabad Mental Health Hospital.

On one hand, the study states that there is no data in the public domain which could justify claims of such a correlation. On the other, scholars puts the emphasis on the fact that suicide is a complex matter, with separate deep rooted personal reasons that require an attentive approach.

Regulation, not Sensation

The research was part of the efforts of an independent panel of experts summoned by policy makers in Tamil Nadu. Over the past year, they have been trying to introduce legislation to regulate online gaming. The TN government formally invited feedback from teachers, parents, youth, psychologists, consumer groups and NGOs, gaming companies and the general public.

Notably, psychiatric evaluations and market experts agreed that the best way forward is to establish proper regulation of the market, based on in-depth studies from the scientific community and best practices around the world. Moralistic statements and sensational media coverage of personal tragedies have never helped and have only led to miscalculated attempts at blanket bans on online games.

Dr. Shah’s research, the basis of psychiatric support to government officials, points out that rash legislation is usually the result of misinformation. The study repeatedly evokes the lack of any causal correlation between online gaming and suicide. It evokes the need to gather more data, before and after having legalized online gaming with precise rules.

A “rational” regulation should be supported by further studies from scientific and technical communities, he goes on. Even coincidences do not lead to proper conclusions of causation, while suicide prevention policies need to be based on statistics, case reports and broader strategies. Media reports into financial fraud and personal distress usually lead to ad hoc interventions which are never well thought through.

Indeed, the consequences of extreme bans have proven to push real-money games into the black market and online games into the offshore scene. Thus, Indian players are less protected and exposed to stress and more direct and indirect threats.

Researchers explicitly recommend collaborative efforts between regulators, gaming companies and the medical community. Those should lead to a set of responsible gaming practices, licensed operators in TN (and the Union as a whole), as well as more consumer protection through strict rules and requirements.

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