Internal trade or domestic trade as it is known as one of the most important aspects of a countries economy. A healthy trade sector indicates a healthy economy. So it is only obvious that the government focuses their attention to promote and protect internal trade, and the Indian Chambers of Commerce does just that.
The government of India has a Ministry of Commerce and Industry and a Ministry of Finance to look after the well being of its trade sector. But to lend a helping hand, there are Indian chambers of commerce and industry that have been set up. These are generally voluntary and not for profit associations and chambers that work with the government to strengthen internal trade in our country.
One such famous and esteemed Indian chambers of commerce is the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). Set up way back in 1927 it the oldest business organization in the country. It is a not-for-profit organization and not a government association. It provides a network for discussions and is a meeting place for stalwarts of the industry and people making the policies. FICCI also articulates and forwards problems that the industry may be facing.
Another important one of the many Indian chambers of commerce and industry is Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Since its establishment in 1920, it has represented the interests of the commerce and the internal trade industries of India. It provides a platform for policy discussions and formulating plans for the safety and the growth of the industry. ASSOCHAM also represents the interests of professionals involved with trade and industries, such as Chartered Accountants, Lawyers, Consultants etc.
Role of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
These various Indian chambers of commerce are crucial in the growth and the sustenance of the internal trade industries. They cooperate with the central and state government and other government agencies to remove some of the barriers to trade. They even assist in the policy-making to ensure that all interests are looked after. Let us see a few of the very important functions these Indian chambers of commerce have carried out.
1) Inter-State Transport
There are a lot of logistics involved with the transport of goods across state borders. These chambers of commerce assist in a few of these logistical issues, such as registration of vehicles, e-way bills, transport policies, insurance requirements etc. In fact, some of these associations also promote better transport facilities and champion the cause of new highways and better infrastructure. FICCI is actually responsible for some major developments in the transport infrastructure (highways, rails, ports etc) of India.
2) Taxes and Levies
These Indian chambers of commerce are always consulted when it comes to taxes, octroi, levies etc on goods entering a state. Such taxes are a major source of income to the government and a very important factor of internal trade. For example when the recent GST laws were being framed all these associations were a part of the discussion and the framing procedures. FICCI and ASSOCHAM even held seminars and lectures and surveys to educate the businessmen on GST procedures.
Even in current discussions about expanding the scope of GST, these organizations represent the voice of the industry and also voice there collective complaints and concerns. They are the main source of communication between the government and the individual businessmen.
3) Help provided to Agro products
These chambers of commerce often interact with farming associations and cooperatives. They help such societies market and sell agricultural-based products. These associations will even provide assistance in obtaining and streamlining government subsidies afforded to such agro products. These federations play a very important role in the promotion of such secondary agricultural industries.
4) Assistance with Metrology
Such federations help with forming laws related to weights and measures (metrology) as well. This is to ensure that neither the trader nor the customer gets cheated in any way. They even ensure that all branded products have their copyright and no one is infringing on it. Some federations like FICCI also take up the cause of proper labelling and instructions and warnings on the packaging.
5) Labour Legislation
The government and the Indian chambers of commerce are constantly having dialogues about the labour laws of our country and the improvements that it needs. Labour legislation is an extremely important factor in the trade industries. Internal trade is a labour-intensive industry and maintaining peace with the workforce is essential. So such associations make sure that all parties have their say and the government can accordingly make changes to the legislation if necessary.