India is on the cusp of a retail revolution where new and emerging formats are teaching Indian consumers exciting ways to shop and indulge. Some of these emerging formats that should have been on a consolidation drive are struggling for lack of proper legislation, for instance, the Direct Selling Industry. The Industry recorded a double-digit growth of around 20 per cent starting 2008-09 till 2011-12 and supports a bright vision of a growing Indian market. Unfortunately, despite its huge contributions to the Indian economy, the Direct Selling Industry largely remains inconsequential. It is facing challenges in the market due to regulatory issues and has witnessed a slower growth of 4.3 per cent in 2013-14 as compared to 12.2 per cent in 2012-13. Gross sales stood at Rs7,472.2 crore in 2013-14 while in 2012-13 the sales amounting to Rs7,164.1 crore, according to a report published by industry chamber PHD in association with Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA). In this scenario, we feel it is imperative to provide a platform for all our stakeholders to voice their concerns. It was this desire to be heard that led us to launch Platform, a newsletter that will be a forum for all stakeholders in the industry. We will endeavour to feature issues, opportunities, concerns, successes and much more that concerns each member of the Direct Selling family. Platform will be the ultimate voice of our Industry.
The Direct Selling Industry is promoting micro-enterprise in India. Take for instance the manufacturing sector. It has consistently adopted a policy of manufacturing products domestically. What is commendable is its promotion of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in this endeavour. By contracting MSMEs as vendors for their manufacturing needs, the Direct Selling Entities are promoting growth of the SME sector through the transfer of international level manufacturing and technology knowhow to their SME vendor-partners, and thereby enhancing their competitiveness. Make in India aims to propel revival of manufacturing industry. The Direct Selling Industry is perfectly aligned to this vision of Prime Minister Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi, as it is contributing to this goal in a big way by significantly enhancing skills, especially of women, and by promoting MSME sector. Isn’t it time that now the government recognizes the Direct Selling Industry’s contributions and gives it a clear regulatory framework?