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‘To fast-track EVs in India, we need to accelerate the charging Infrastructure’

Rohit Rungta, an auto component manufacturer and alumnus of Apeejay Faridabad, says the MSMEs sector holds huge potential for growth and it will help in making a truly ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

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Rohit is Director at Cosmos Fibre Glass Ltd. Set up in 1984, the company manufactures comprehensive range of customised plastic products such as Plastic Fuel Tank Models, Plastic Fender Models, Plastic Wheel Arch, Plastic Air Inlet Ducts, FRP Bus parts & Ambulance Parts, Plastic Canopies, etc for buses, trucks, tractors and earthmoving machines. The company has three plants, 2 in Faridabad and one in Jamshedpur. After completing his B.Tech and MBA, Rohit joined his family business in 2002. In a candid interview, he talks about the qualities of a good entrepreneur, how to overcome business failure, the challenges faced by the MSMEs, and more. Edited excerpts:

What are key lessons you learned in school?

I believe quality school education lays the foundation for a bright future. It facilitates the cultivation of good habits, life skills such as critical thinking, communication skills, empathy, problem-solving skills and a healthy thought process. I got all of it in Apeejay Faridabad and I will be forever grateful to the school.

According to you, what are the key qualities of a good entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur must have strong overall business management skills. They must understand all the aspects of how their business operates, knowledge about regulatory requirements, labour laws, tax laws and must stay abreast of market trends. An entrepreneur should also have the ability to manage people, the most valuable assets an organisation has. The skills to manage teams, oversee conflict and dispute resolution and lead from the front are other important qualities. You can’t be a one man army leader.

How to overcome business failure and thrive?

Failure is a part of life, especially for entrepreneurs. Every major success is built on a foundation of previous failures. It’s important we learn from our mistakes. My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to spend your capital wisely. You have to take all the factors into consideration before making an investment. You must have the finances and the wherewithal to tide over a tough situation. This is the prime reason why we were able to withstand the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009 and the Covid induced lockdown. Apart from strong finances, you also need the support of your employees. As I said earlier, they are your most important asset. If you stand by them when the times are tough they will give their everything to help you get through any tough time in business.

You are an integral part of the automotive industry. Take us through the challenges faced by this sector?

The government is giving a huge thrust to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ in every sphere. That’s why, it has come up with the ‘Make in India’ scheme to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, protect intellectual property & build best in class manufacturing infrastructure. I believe more support needs to be given to the micro, small, medium enterprises (MSME), which accounts for 30% of Indian GDP and employs over 11 crore people. I believe the government should avoid regulating the sector with arbitrary prescriptions and policies. For instance, to decarbonise the transport sector, the government aims to have EV sales accounting for 30% of private cars, 70% for commercial vehicles and 80% for two- and three-wheelers by 2030. It’s obvious that electric vehicles are the future of transport as they have the potential to reduce emissions and help to address climate change. Corporates are gearing up to secure and augment their share in the EV value chain pie. However, it would be difficult to build the required charging infrastructure by 2030 which is essential to the success of EVs. We have to come up with ways to make the entire charging station planning, permitting, and installation process faster, cheaper, and more efficient. I think the industry should be given some more time for the transition. Also, automobile manufacturers have recently made massive investments to implement Bharat StageVI norms, so they will require a little time to recoup their investment.

What kind of support does the MSMEs need from the government?

According to a survey by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), two-thirds of MSMEs in India were temporarily shut for three months or more in FY21 and over half of all MSMEs saw a decline of over 25 per cent in revenues. The sector faces challenges related to land, labour, capital and regulatory issues. I also like to point out that quotas for locals in private jobs have many constitutional and business implications. My humble request is that reservation in the private sector should be avoided. We also need uniform policies across India.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

Poetic गुफ्तगू – With हुमेरा खान @poetsofDelhi

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