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Confusion abounds

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DQW Bureau
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The IT channel business is a case study in how you can do business even when

many times there is utter and total chaos around you. In the last fortnight, the

only thing constant in the channel space has been confusion. So I am hoping

business must be good.

What is most amazing is that the same issues keep cropping up again and

again. Take for example the past few days software dealers and partners who sell

cartridges and toners are up in arms trying to figure out what is the actual

rate at which they need to pay various taxes.

The software industry has been grappling with double taxation, it has reached

such a pace that everyone has their own theory to why the confusion exists.

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SHIVANGI YADAV

The same is with channel partners in some states who are battling to figure

out whether toners or cartridges attract a VAT of four percent or 12.5 percent.

The channel partners and vendors insist on four percent, the tax commissioner

says 12.5 percent. Adding twist in the tale is that once a clarification was

issued by the Tamil Nadu tax officer that actually toners and cartridges should

attract only four percent VAT but since the Commissioner said 12.5 percent and

you cannot question him, the officers are implementing the orders. And what are

the channel partners and vendors doing, going round and round in circles.

You would by now think that these two are the most important things for

channel and that they would look at resolving them as soon as possible. But

guess what? Nothing has happened. So what have people been busy doing? As is the

case with all things Indian, if you cannot find anyone to blame, then-blame the

government of course. And blame game is what is frankly going on, and nothing

concrete has happened till now and most likely will not happen also.

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It has happened in the past and it will happen again. Someone will go to

court and get an interim injunction and then everyone will immediately go back

to business and forget that the injunction was well interim. It will lapse at

some date in the near future and you would be back to square one.

One day the rhetoric will be at its peak, everyone you meet will make you

feel like they will not rest till the issue is resolved and then the next day

forget about it. But such is the nature of the business that no one thinks long

term. Or if they think then they become so self righteous that people refuse to

take them seriously.

Some of the associations in channel space started very honestly and they were

able to achieve success because their intentions were on the right track. But

like with all things good, that phase ended as some became too militant and some

just fizzled out. So now there is no one to fight actually for the channel

cause. MAIT as an industry body hardly is doing anything for the benefit of the

IT channel. So till a time the channel gets its heart and mind both on track,

the situation will prevail. Whether this situation is happy or unhappy-is

something that no one can actually decide on. And till such a time that we as a

community get our act together, confusion will continue to persist because if

you cannot help yourself no one else is going to help you.

(shivangiy@cybermedia.co.in)

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