I used to wonder what the 1970s and 1980s would have been like for many Indian businesses. India was then under the licence permit quota raj. The government had the power to make or break any business. A single rule passed by a bureaucrat could hand over a market to a competitor – or if you were on the right side, give you the golden key to a world of profits. Business acumen was not enough.
It was a world that we had only heard about when we were growing up – since people like us were in school or college at that time. They were stories but we were not involved in them.
I returned to India after a short education/work stint in the US just as the Indian economy was opening up. Reforms were the buzz in the India of 1992. And for most of the two decades since then, many sectors in India have been opened to entrepreneurs, especially in technology.
As an entrepreneur in the digital space, I thought that the licence raj was something I would never ever experience. I was wrong.