Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi met with small & micro business owners today in Delhi to understand first hand the problems that they face in running and expanding their businesses. He spent over 90 minutes listening to each of the entrepreneurs, over a South Indian thali lunch!
The meeting included a range of business men and women, from a solar power entrepreneur to an IIT graduate who runs a business that produces sanitary napkins; from a small hotel owner in Kargil to an entrepreneur from Meghalaya; and many others – each of these entrepreneurs had a unique story to tell!
The common problem that emerged in the discussion was of the poor GST implementation and the monthly reporting mandated by its implementation . Amongst other issues that were discussed were bad quality of infrastructure, opacity in customs duty on raw material, difficulties in raising credit, lack of incentives and problems with accessing Govt. subsidies. The participants were confident that if cut loose and rid of red tape, they could play a key role in solving India’s job crisis and helping India become a global economic super power. Each participant felt that they had the ambition and the talent to develop their businesses and to grow them - what was hampering their growth story and scaling their businesses were unfriendly policies which were a result of the Government’s top-down policy making framework that ignored ground realities.
Today’s initiative is a part of Congress President’s “Apni Baat Rahul Ke Saath” out reach where he is meeting different groups of people as part of the manifesto building process. The Congress Party’s manifesto for the General Elections is being built ground-up with feedback from hundreds of stake holder groups across the country and individuals. A couple of weeks ago, the Congress President had hosted a group of students for dinner in a restaurant in Delhi to discuss problems students face in their day to day lives. Many of the suggestions received at that interaction are being incorporated into the Congress Party’s manifesto.
The ‘Apni Baat Rahul Ke Saath” outreach is also being filmed and showcased across social media platforms using digital video. The first set of videos released on the student dinner, have received millions of views cumulatively across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and on other platforms and have become a big talking point. Many more interactions are being planned with a wide range of stake holder groups across the country.
1.Video Material of Congress President's lunch interaction with small & micro business owners: https://we.tl/t-0oMAslSKep
2. Video Material with interviews of select participants after their interaction with Congress President:https://wetransfer.com/downloads/b2881aec0ffb69e052dbdeff0f8a6be320190219121902/f8f390ed8d8f5f9cf74b67bf0490162320190219121902/4e5654
Quotations from selection of participants
- Khaild Ghulam Mohammaed, Kargil. (Hotel Owner)
“This was such a pleasant surprise. I had no idea I will be meeting Mr. Rahul Gandhi.
I was just told there’s a meeting where I can share my views about business.
“The best part about this discussion was, i feel it’s for the first time that a political leader is interested in listening to us. He heard us very patiently. He called the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Kamal Nath immediately after one of the participants gave a suggestion, this shows there’s hope. And that he’s serious about finding quick resolution to people’s problems.”
2. Suhani Mohan, Mumbai ( Her business, Saral Designs, provides women access to low cost sanitary napkins)
“We were told that we’ll meet senior congress leader, but to our pleasant surprise, Mr. Gandhi came himself. We have seen him so many times on TV, it was very exciting for us to meet him. It was so nice to have food with him and speak about what we had in our hearts.”
“Usually, there are associations in the industry, and the President of that association gets to meet the leaders of a political party, but here people who are at the grassroots level are meeting with the Congress President himself. He head our opinions, understood our voice.”
“I think this discussion was primarily to hear what we feel. I feel this is the way forward. This will resonate with the people.”
3. Sanjay Patwardhan, Indore. (Solar Energy Entrepreneur)
“One of the biggest surprises of my life.After speaking one-to-one with him, i feel the country’s future is set to change. The way he shared his thoughts with us, i feel, for the small scale businesses he’s a big support.”
“When I gave him a suggestion, he immediately called the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Mr. Kamalnath and made me speak to him. The CM asked me to meet him. I haven’t heard of any other leader of this stature, a national leader, who acts this quickly on someone’s suggestion.”
4. Alok Mehta, Faridabad (JP Automotives)
“This was so good. I never expected i will sit with Mr. Gandhi and have lunch with him.”
“I felt he was one of us. He understood our problems. A man of his stature meeting small entrepreneurs like us, speaks a lot about him. I have never seen on-the-spot solutions happening like this. “
Select quotes from Congress President, Rahul Gandhi
"When you listen to Tv debates, everybody talks about growth, “India is growing at 6%..7%.. 8%..” but nobody talks about jobs. Where are the jobs? You can have growth with no jobs, which is what is happening right now."
"NPAs are not coming from small and medium businesses. The Government, today, is funding the big guys, but they are not producing jobs. The small businesses are producing jobs. But you don’t get the funding you want."
"How many jobs did Nirav Modi give India? Not much.
But India gave him 35,000 crore. This is a symptom of what is going on. "
"Nobody can compete with China except us. And, there’s huge amount of wealth and benefit that can be made, if we do it successfully. And, i think, frankly, the people who can do it are the people like you(small and medium business people). Because you are the people who can create jobs".