The socio economic conditions of India are apt for startups and entrepreneurs of India. Till now they have been given a complete freedom to conduct their business in free and regulation free manner. However, this scenario is going to change in the year 2017 that would witness consolidation of e-commerce and various startup businesses. Further, regulatory compliances and transparency would also be crucial in 2017.
In this article, Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has underlined the possible trends and techno legal compliance and regulatory requirements for various startups and entrepreneurs that are trying their level best to dominate Indian markets. These are as follows:
(1) Ease Of Business Doing: Indian government would be very much interested in ensuring a good and effective ease of business doing in India for startups and entrepreneurs. Till now business doing in India is not an easy task though many positive steps have been taken by Indian government in this regard. The year 2017 may see some more efforts in this regard from Indian government. However, we at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) strongly recommend that ease of business doing at the cost of ignoring regulatory compliances is no more a viable option for Indian government. We have already delayed regulatory compliance for areas like e-commerce, online pharmacies, online gaming and gambling, bitcoin, cyber security, cyber law due diligence (pdf) etc and continuing this approach in 2017 would be counter productive.
(2) Effective Dispute Resolution: Disputes resolution in India is a very complicated, time consuming and expensive process. Businesses engaged in disputes cannot wait for decades to get their disputes resolved. Although India has adopted ambitious projects like national e-governance plan (NeGP) and digital India yet none of them have been able to resolve this problem. Even alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration are suffering from many problems. However, what is most troublesome part is that India has not been able to establish e-courts and use online dispute resolution (ODR) for effective dispute resolution and ease of business doing in India. As a result, arbitration for commercial disputes and international commercial arbitration in India are not getting the response they must get.
Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has suggested the first ever techno legal ODR model for national and international stakeholders for various fields and businesses. Interested stakeholders may see the Online Dispute Resolution and Cyber Arbitration project for more details. This is the first ever ODR platform for India that is covering most comprehensive techno legal dispute resolution services for national and international stakeholders in India. We hope this initiative would help in ensuring an effective and alternative dispute resolution mechanism that is much needed for ensuring ease of business doing in India. Startups and entrepreneurs would be using more and more ODR and e-courts facilities in 2017 and P4LO would be happy to extend its techno legal expertise to Indian government and various stakeholders in this regard.
(3) Digital India: Digital India project of Indian government would be tested very rigorously in the year 2017 by startups and entrepreneurs. It would be a big challenge for the Indian government to ensure cyber security and civil liberties aspects of digital India in the year 2017. In 2016 digital India project lacked regulatory framework and procedural safeguards that customers, startups and entrepreneurs would demand in the year 2017. Without these essential attributes, digital India would fail to meet its aims and objectives.
(4) Digital Payments: Online payments and digital payments have a special role to play for online businesses, e-commerce and electronic delivery of services to the citizens. Startups and entrepreneurs would introduce disruptive Fintech and digital payment models in the year 2017. However, they would also be required to comply with privacy, data security and cyber security aspects of digital payments that are presently missing.
(5) Cyber Security: Cyber security is a major cause of concern for India. All digital projects and dealing must be supported with a robust and resilient cyber security system. However, cyber security infrastructure in India is still not robust and resilient. Even the cyber security trends of India 2017 have raised many crucial and alarming issues that must be urgently managed by Indian government. The year 2017 would see increased role of higher management in ensuring cyber security policies and compliances.
(6) Cyber Law: Cyber law compliances would take a front seat in the year 2017 for startups and entrepreneurs. Right now not many e-commerce ventures and businesses are complying with cyber law requirements of Information Technology Act, 2000. This would change in 2017 as Indian government would be pushing more cyber law compliance on the part of these startups and entrepreneurs.
(7) Cyber Law Due Diligence: One of the most technical and complicated compliance requirement of Information Technology Act, 2000 is ensuring cyber law due diligence (pdf). Cyber law due diligence is a techno legal aspect of compliance that needs a continuous effort on the part of top management and ground level force alike. As of now, startups, entrepreneurs, e-commerce businesses, etc are not managing cyber law due diligence on many counts. Indian government must make it sure that these stakeholders comply with the same on priority basis.
(8) Director’s Obligations: Directors of startups, entrepreneurs, Indian companies and banks are also required to comply with cyber law and cyber security requirements under the Information Technology Act, 2000, Indian Companies Act, 2013, etc. Compliance requirements on the part of Indian directors would increase in the year 2017 and this would also help in strengthening of cyber security in India.
(9) Intellectual Property Protection: Startups and entrepreneurs would be protecting their intellectual property rights (IPRs) like trademark, patents, designs, etc in the year 2017. Indian government has announced many initiatives to promote, encourage and strengthen IPRs of these stakeholders. But they are slow in taking advantage of these schemes and concessions. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) strongly recommends that startups and entrepreneurs must take advantage of these schemes and protect their IPRs to maximum possible extent.
(10) Consolidation Of Industry: In the year 2017, investors would exit potential risk ventures and would prefer to invest in top performing companies. This would trigger a consolidation of existing e-commerce and business ventures. As far as startups and entrepreneurship arena of India is concerned, only the most promising and disruptive venture would attract capital and investments from national and international investors. Indian government’s fight against black money would also curb illegal funding and investments from companies and investors that have been circumventing Indian laws so far. Clarity about the foreign direct investment (FDI) regime is also expected in the year 2017 from the Indian government. At the same time, Indian government must prosecute business ventures and e-commerce companies that have circumvented Indian laws and policies regarding FDI and e-commerce. Startups and entrepreneurs must keep their records and businesses clean and trouble free by ensuring techno legal compliances.
(11) Financial Technology: The year 2017 would be a golden year for startups and entrepreneurs exploring financial technology (fintech). Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) believes that startups and entrepreneurs disrupting Indian markets need to be novel, scalable and flexible in nature. They must also ensure techno legal compliance that most of them are not doing as on date. One of the common misconceptions among startups and entrepreneurs is that techno legal compliances are just cost elements and not necessary. In the long run, legal costs are much lower than the prosecution costs. So it is always better to include legal costs as part of the overheads that must be taken care of at the stage of launch of the venture itself. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has witnessed many ventures that simply collapsed as they failed to adhere to techno legal requirements due to ignorance of them at the very first stage.
(12) Blockchain And Bitcoin: Fintech companies, startups, entrepreneurs, etc may explore use of Blockchain and bitcoin in the year 2016. Indian government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have been analysing blockchain and bitcoin and its possible usages. However, nothing concrete has happened in the year 2016 in this regard. Further, techno legal regulatory compliances and legality of bitcoin in India are still unresolved. The year 2017 may see some positive developments built around blockchain and bitcoin.
(13) Technology Neutral Approach: Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has recommended to many of its clients about use of technology neutral approach. Instead of following the masses, startups and entrepreneurs must use neutral technologies that do not depend upon a particular technology, product or services. For instance, reliance upon and use of Aadhaar for fintech or other startups and entrepreneurship ventures is a really bad move that must be avoided at all costs. Instead give multiple choices to customers to use a technology, product or service of their own choice that is not intrusive, not civil liberties violating and much more cyber secure than Aadhaar.
(14) Data Centric Approach: India is fast adopting a data centric approach where data is the king. Many big and foreign technology companies have been running on a data centric approach where that data needs to be protected as per laws of different jurisdictions. Handling of data of consumers would be a big challenge before startups, entrepreneurs, e-commerce players, online businesses, etc in the year 2017. Any data breach would be required to be managed in most effective techno legal methods and practices that are still to be put in place by various stakeholders in India. Even Indian government needs to work on the fronts of data security, data protection, privacy and cyber security as it failed to do so in 2016.
(15) Online Advertisement Industry: Online advertisement industry may witness a growth in India in 2017 due to changing tax structure of India. Local contents would be preferred over foreign contents due to taxation and commercial reasons. Startups and entrepreneurs can encash upon the local contents produced by blogs and websites of repute. However, online advertisement can be successful in India only when there are flexible and lucrative offers as business models of foreign countries are not conducive for Indian scenario.
(16) Online Entertainment And Gaming Industry: Online entertainment and gaming industry would witness a significant increase in the year 2017. This is due to wider availability of smart phones, increasing penetration of Internet and broadband, positive regulatory changes, etc. For instance, video-on-demand, video streaming, etc would increase in 2017. However, intellectual property, privacy and cyber law issues must be taken care of to avoid possible litigations by startups and entrepreneurs. There is a very fine demarcation between online gaming and online gambling and that must not be crossed by startups and entrepreneurs. Further, online gaming in one jurisdiction may be online gambling in another. So gaming startups and entrepreneurs must keep these issues in mind while launching their products and services.
(17) Online Education And Trainings: Online education, trainings and skills development related projects and business ventures would increase in the year 2017. Already some very novel models are operating in India. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has been providing online techno legal education, trainings and skills development programs for long though its techno legal platforms known as Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB)TM and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal ICT Training Centre (PTLITC). We cover fields like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, e-commerce, e-discovery, online dispute resolution (ODR), e-courts, etc. Perry4Law and PTLB are the first in the world to introduce the concept of online internship that is now fast catching up. We would announce more innovative, novel and unique online education and learning methods in the year 2017.
(18) Healthcare Ventures: Healthcare startups and entrepreneurs would flourish like anything in the year 2017 in India. For instance, business fields like telemedicine, online pharmacies, etc would see more interests in 2017. At the same time, Indian government would bring more stringent regulations and laws to manage telemedicine and online pharmacies in India in 2017. It would be a good idea to start complying with techno legal requirements from the very beginning by these business ventures in 2017.
There are many more techno legal aspects that cannot be covered in a single trends analysis. We hope startups, entrepreneurs, e-commerce companies and other business ventures would like this trend and take advantage of the strategies suggested herein.