One dictionary describes this idiom as :
" If someone can't see the wood for the trees, they are unable to understand what is important in a situation because they are giving too much attention to details "
This is the danger facing a 12 member committee of government secretaries ( headed by Shri Amitabh Kant , CEO - NITI Aayog ), appointed to look into :
# Liberalizing the E-Commerce policy to give a further boost to this sector
# Rethink of Online Marketplace rules
# Issues related to Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI )
Economic Times ( 10 Aug, 2016 ) reports :
# E-Commerce Market in India was $ 17 billion in 2014 and expected to grow to $ 70 billion in 2019
# E-Commerce Sector suffers from lack of policy clarity
# Attempts to create a level playing field with Offline Retail has shackled the sector
# Committee will suggest measures to liberalize the sector
# Rethink on Online Marketplace rules also likely
# Committee will review complex regulations
# Changes in FDI policy will also be suggested
In 1905 , Albert Einstein published " Theory of Special Relativity " and by 1915 , he came out with " General Theory of Relativity "
For him , it was like moving on from a TREE ( Special Theory ) to the WOODS ( General Theory )
Obviously , he did not want to miss out on the larger picture by focusing on a single pixel !
It is no different when it comes to the Laws governing ECONOMY
" E- Commerce and Foreign Direct Investment " are the " Special Theory of ECONOMY " , whereas " Commerce and Investment " are the " General Theory of ECONOMY "
And at this very moment , the Super-Ordinate Goal of our ECONOMY is :
# Create millions of Self Employed ( 400 million to start with and 12 million per year , thereafter )
E-Commerce and Foreign Direct Investments, are merely " Means to achieve that End " - no more
It was only a few days back when Shri Amitabh Kant said in a TV interview :
" Laws / rules / regulations etc will need constant tweaking / revising , to remain relevant with the advancing technologies
There is no way , the March of Technology can be halted . Laws must catch-up ".
While debating the issues ,the Committee may want to keep in mind how following technologies will change the Commerce Landscape , within the next 2 years :
# Everything ( Goods and Services ) will be marketed / sold online
# No business / industry will , solely remain OFFLINE
# When goods are not being delivered at your doorstep using Drones, your table-top 3D Printers will print out
all kinds of Consumables ( including Food ! ), by downloading Designs from internet . Houses will be 3D printed
# Services of all kinds ( Patient-care / Health care / Psychological / Consulting / Coding / Remotely operating
Devices and Machineries / Teaching / Curating / Controlling Riots etc ) , will be carried out ( hopefully, by
Indians if Committee takes the right , far-reaching decisions ), remotely from 10,000 Km away using Virtual
Reality / Augmented Reality / Holographic Tele-presence / Hepatic gloves etc
# Entire cycle of Designing / Manufacturing / Marketing / Selling / Order-taking / Delivering / After-sales Servicing
/ Logistics / Collecting Payments / etc , will get spread so thinly across Countries / Continents / Companies /
Individuals , that it will become next to impossible to keep track of " WHO " is adding " WHAT " value to the
process , and " WHEN " , and from " WHERE " ! No one will be able to unravel this GORDIAN KNOT !
# Industrial Robots will play ever-increasing role at each step of this process , connected through IoT
The best that the Committee can recommend is adoption of the following ,
Parekh's , " 3 Laws of E-Commerce Economy " - to be incorporated as 123rd Constitutional Amendment
( with apologies to Isaac Asimov's 3 Laws of Robotics ! ) :
LAW # 1 :
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Rules / Regulations of E-Commerce shall not come in the way of unfettered creation of SELF EMPLOYMENT
Any existing Law / Rule / Regulation that hinders a person to become Self Employed, shall be treated as
Further , any Law / Regulation of " E-Commerce / FDI " which slows down Investment ( Foreign or Local / Official
or through channeling of BLACK MONEY ), shall be treated as " bad in law " and struck down
LAW # 2
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First
Laws / Regulations governing " E-Commerce / FDI " shall be subservient to Laws / Regulations governing
" Commerce / Investment " .
Whenever any Public Authority / Court finds conflict between the two , laws / regulations governing " Commerce/
Investments " , shall prevail under all circumstances , and in favor of the self employed
LAW # 3
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Laws / Regulations of " E-Commerce / FDI " which get over-ruled under LAW # 2 , shall immediately " Self Destruct "
in favor of unobstructed progress of TECHNOLOGIAL ADVANCES
Before drafting its recommendations , the Committee may want to look up my specific suggestions at :
Dear Committee Members :
Please , overlook the TREE / focus on the WOODS !
12 August 2016
www.hemenparekh.in / Blogs