Preferred Market Access Policy for Indian CyberSecurity Products

The government of India had announced a Preferred Market Access (PMA) policy for Cyber Security products through an order notifying the Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India).

MeitY shall be the nodal Ministry to monitor and administer this PMA policy.

The policy announcement is given at link given here.  Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017- Notifying Cyber Security Products in furtherance of the Order

iSPIRT has been pursuing with MietY, application of PMA for all Indian Software Products to promote the Indian Software product industry and it is heartening to note that at least one important sub-sector of Cybersecurity has caught the Government’s attention.

iSPIRT organised a PolicyHacks session to understand this policy announcement with Ashish Tandon Founder & CEO of Indusface and Mohan Gandhi of Entersoftsecurity.

Ashish has been following the policy announcement and has earlier published a blog at http://pn.ispirt.in/cybersecurityproductsprocurement/

You can watch the discussion with Ashish and Mohan at below given YouTube video, in a question and answer format with Sudhir Singh.

What are the essential features of this Policy?

Ashish described the main features stating that this is a policy that is going to help boost Cybersecurity products in India. Govt. of India identified areas that require boosting ‘make in India’ products for the sensitive areas of cybersecurity.

Is there a way product companies can register or Government is going to keep a registry of ‘made in India’ products?

Ashish explains the policy has provided for the formation of a committee that will further provide for a process for empanelment of Indian Cybersecurity products and Indian Cybersecurity product companies with some defined key aspects that would qualify for empanelment.

Ashish further explained that as the empanelment aspects are decided there may also come up with a process for testing and meeting standards and quality norms etc.

Are there are enough product companies in ‘Cyber Security’ space for empanelment?

Mohan Gandhi answered that there are several product companies, but this policy should further strengthen the ‘make in India’ aspect and companies based out of India with deep tech product can look at getting this advantage of this policy.

Whether the Policy will be applicable to “productized services”?

Ashish answered, that this policy is applicable to the only product and at best give preference to made in India products in turnkey projects wherein a large project cybersecurity product is involved.

How will this policy help Start-up companies in Indian Market?

Mohan mentioned, that one interesting thing about this policy is that, it clearly talks about intellectual property. There is a need to register and prove that the IP belongs to India. It will encourage small companies to register the IP and leverage the Indian IP even when they are selling abroad.

Is there enough clarity exist on process and enplanement etc.?

Ashish feels the policy has already prescribed setting up of an empowered committee who will look at these aspects and it is MeitY that will be responsible for doing this.

Ashish further also elaborated that this Policy will get further push once some companies start getting empanelled and processes and rules are framed under MeitY by the empowered committee.

In concluding remarks, both Ashish and Mohan felt that Cybersecurity ecosystem will get a boost by this policy as the policy is furthering the cause by advising Government departments for preferring Indian products. With Digital economy on anvil, there should be a huge demand in Government and Public sector enterprises for cybersecurity. Cybersecurity product market is today dominated by players from the US, Europe and Israel.

The policy has to be pushed hard to further encourage and coupled with StartupIndia policy, there should be all-out effort to promote the Indian Cybersecurity product companies.

Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2018 for Cyber Security Products

‘Digital India’ is one of the flagship programmes of the Government of India (GoI) with an aim to transform the country into a digitally empowered economy. Given the massive push that the government is giving to this programme, some radical changes have taken place across the country at both the public as well as at the government level in terms of digitization. However, it is also a reality that the growing digitization has increased vulnerability to data breaches and cyber security threats.

According to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), more than 22,000 Indian websites, including 114 government portals were hacked between April 2017 and January 2018, including the Aadhaar data leak in May 2017. These incidents clearly emphasized a strong need for cyber security products to tackle the threat to India’s digital landscape. In fact, last year, the Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) had directed all ministries to spend 10% of their IT budgets on cyber security and strengthen the Government’s IT structure in the wake of cyber threats.

Now, in order to be prepared for cyber breaches, the government entities need sophisticated security products and solutions. Currently, there is a heavy reliance on the foreign manufacturers to source these products as there are a handful of domestic players operating in this space. MeitY had issued a draft notification in June 2017 stating its preference to procure domestic cyber security products and give further impetus to the government’s flagship programme ‘Make in India’, thereby also boosting income and employment in the country.

The good news is that now the government has mandated ‘Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2018 for Cyber Security Products’ policy which was released on July 2, 2018. With this policy in place, the local manufacturers will get the much required clarity and support to produce cyber security products. As the participation of domestic players increases in the cyber security industry, it will not only make the digital economy stronger and safer for the nation, but also enhance the ability of the suppliers to compete at a global business level. At the same time, it will also give an opportunity to foreign players to invest in the Indian cyber security product manufacturers which in turn will enable India to channel more FDI into the economy.

Let’s take a look at the key highlights of this policy are:

What is the objective?

Cyber Security being a strategic sector, preference shall be provided by all procuring entities to domestically manufactured/produced cyber security products to encourage ‘Make in India’ and to promote manufacturing and production of goods and services in India with a view to enhancing income and employment

Who are the procuring entities?

Ministry or department or attached or subordinate office of, or autonomous body controlled by the Government of India (GoI) which includes government companies.

Who qualifies to be a ‘local supplier’ of domestically manufactured/produced cyber security products?

A company incorporated and registered in India as governed by the applicable Act (Companies Act, LLP Act, Partnership Act etc.) or startup that meets the definition as prescribed by DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India under the notification G.S.R. 364 (E) dated 11th April 2018 and recognized under Startup India initiative of DIPP.

 AND

Revenue from the product(s) in India and revenue from Intellectual Property (IP) licensing should accrue to the aforesaid company/startup in India.

How big is the government opportunity?

There is a huge government opportunity waiting to be leveraged, especially because MeitY had asked all ministries to spend 10% of their IT budgets on cyber security.

What are the key benefits of the policy to the local supplier?

The main benefits of the policy that local suppliers can avail are:

  • Procurement of goods from the local supplier if the order value is Rs.50 lacs or less.
  • For goods that are divisible in nature and the order value being more than Rs.50 lacs, procurement of full quantity of goods from the ‘local’ supplier if it is L1 (refer the note below). If not, at least 50% procurement from the local supplier subject to the local suppliers’ quoted price falling within the margin of purchase preference.
  • For goods that are not divisible in nature and the order value being more than Rs50 lacs, the procurement of the full quantity of goods from the local supplier if it is L1. If not, then the local supplier will be invited to match the L1 bid and the contract will be awarded to the local supplier on matching the L1 price.
  • The cyber security products notification shall also be applicable to the domestically manufactured/produced cyber security products covered in turnkey/system integration projects. In such cases the preference to domestically manufactured/produced cyber security products would be applicable only for the value of cyber security product forming part of the turnkey/ system-integration projects and not on the value of the whole project.

Note: L1 means the lowest tender or lowest bid or lowest quotation received in a tender, bidding process or other procurement solicitation as adjudged in the evaluation process as per the tender or other procurement solicitation.

How do I get my cyber security product listed to start getting the benefits of this policy?

You need to get your product evaluated and approved by the empowered committee of the government.

The ‘Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2018 for Cyber Security Products’ policy is a commendable step in the direction of providing a robust leap to ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ programmes.

Get complete details about the policy here. You can also reach the author for more details @ [email protected]

About Author:

Ashish Tandon, Founder & CEO – Indusface

Ashish Tandon a first-generation entrepreneur with a rare combination of strong technology understanding and business expertise has successfully lead and exited several ventures in the areas of security, internet services and cloud based mobile and video communication solutions. Under his leadership as founder & CEO, Indusface a bootstrapped, fast growing and profitable company, has been recognized as an award-winning Application Security company with over 1000+ global customers and a multi-million $ ARR. He is also closely associated with the government and industry bodies of India in drafting of the various Software Product & Security related acts, regulations & policies. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Innofest to Innonation

Evolving from a festival of innovation to a platform helping innovators to succeed…

Over the past 3 years, while volunteering for Innofest – the platform for hardware entrepreneurs – I realized two things:

  • Doing a hardware product in India is much tougher ….
  • … but there are several resources available across the country that can make it easier for hardware companies to succeed

What was needed is a way to connect those who need the assistance and advice to those who can help and are willing to help.

The goal of this group of 10-12 individuals who selflessly give their time in organising various initiatives and events under the Innofest umbrella is to make it easier for first-time entrepreneurs and to assist them in their journey. We deliberately chose to focus on startups and individuals who were using hardware and technology to solve meaningful problems. Because that is the most underserved section of the entrepreneurial eco-system.

The initial 2 years were invested in reaching out to hardware entrepreneurs and enablers who can assist them – maker spaces, companies, mentors, investors, etc., and bringing them together to interact with each other. As with many other sectors, in hardware led innovation too, resources were concentrated in 3-4 cities, while innovators were spread across the country. These innovators usually worked on their own, often spending time and energy and money on aspects that had already been solved by someone else. Getting together problem solvers and innovation enablers was a critical first step. And the community responded enthusiastically. Over 1800 innovators turned up at the inaugural in Bangalore. Since then we have taken the initiative to Hyderabad, Jaipur, Nagpur and other cities. In fact, Prathibha Sastry, the key volunteer driving Innofest took two ‘yatras’ – once driving from Bangalore to Delhi and once Bangalore to Assam – to find innovators in small towns and tier 2 cities across India.

What she unearthed was awe-inspiring – folks who were solving local problems with their frugal innovations. However, many of these enterprising folks did not consider themselves as entrepreneurs. For them, they were just using their ingenuity and creativity in addressing a problem that they or someone in their family or community faced. They were solving for Bharat. And that we feel is the real opportunity. To encourage these inspired, enterprising and creative problem solvers to get their innovations to solve problems at a much larger scale than they have currently envisaged. To help spread their innovations to places that can benefit from these innovations. I.e. find innovators and help them in their entrepreneurial journey.

To do that, it was important that we shift gears. And at Innofest, we have.

We now have extended the goals to not just curate and connect innovators and enablers, but to also undertake programs and initiatives that will increase the chances of success of these innovations. These include providing better access to resources like maker spaces, working with large corporates in helping drive their innovation programs, creating better access to capital and markets, creating a pool of mentors, etc.

Indeed, from being a festival or celebration of innovation, Innofest is now a platform for innovators to succeed in solving problems and making our country a better place. And hence, we have also taken the bold step to change our name from Innofest to Innonation, which means using innovation to improve the nation.

Whether you are an innovator, or want to volunteer, or a company that wants to support innovation or a co-working space or maker space, do connect with us at Innonation. We need a lot more people in making this volunteer-driven platform successful.

To get a ringside view of the innovation happening across India, join us at the flagship event in Bangalore on 26th August. If you are into solving a problem for Bharat, check the agenda to see what workshops and events are most relevant for you.

See you at Innonation. The country needs you to be there.

Prajakt Raut

Founder –  Applyifi

 

 

Flipkart – Lessons for “Make in India”

Disclaimer : This article is entirely based on my reflection on what I read in the media

It was exciting and encouraging to experience the marketing campaigns of Flipkart’s billion dollar day and painful and demoralizing to witness pitfalls. I completely empathize with Sachin and Binny who had to write an unconditional apology letter to angry consumers while “celebrating” the victory in round #1 over Amazon, to keep their troops motivated.

Lessons for “Make in India"

The biggest question for me about the big billion day was : Is it a flop-show for Flipkart or is it a success ? Is complete acceptance of failure a sign off greatnes ? I felt apologizing and celebrating success at the same time is a concrete evidence of mediocrity

In any case, there are significant lessons to be learnt from this which is a classic case of gaps between intent and experience, plan and delivery.

We all know the investment and effort that goes into building such a market / consumer momentum for a day like this. We also know the lost image, lost investment, lost opportunity and above all the lost pride due to a result like flopkart. Why did this happen ? Here are my takeaways on the top reasons behind the gap between intent and experience, plan and delivery

  • Inadequate / incomplete anticipation / visualization of what is going to happen on the Big Billion Day. From the load on server to the demand for different products were mis-judged including the peak load at the time of start.
  • Poor coordination in the cross functional team in executing the project: Basically, the left hand was not aligned to what the right hand was doing. The eyes and feet were not coordinated with the brain etc.
  •  Poor workmanship / quality of delivery: from merchandiser to product manager, from project manager to developer, every person fell short in delivering what was expected. Every single gap in delivery contributed their share to the poor experience result.

Basically, every single person who worked on the project would have felt they did their job perfectly well but the end result was a not a success.

The lessons we should learn are very simple : Each one of us must visualize, simulate and experience the customer engagement in our mind while we create a product or service. Each one in the team including suppliers and vendors must collaborate deeply and engage passionately to ensure  the customer engagement visualized can be delivered 100%. When so much is at stake, the load and stress test must be done to ensure systems can withstand the load. Finally, when it comes to each of our own deliverable, we must ensure we deliver 110% and leave nothing to chance

Few other questions I was asking myself repeatedly but could not get an answer. Some of them are, If such thing has happened in a well funded US company, would heads roll ? Are heads not rolling in India because we do not have depth in leadership in the ecosystem ? Is stringent accountability a necessity for Make in India to succeed ?

Only if each person in the team is 100% committed to deliver customer delight, experience vision for customer engagement, execute and deliver on the plans – greatness is guaranteed. Every slip between the cup and the lip gets exposed. I strongly feel, these all are essential for Make in India to become a reality.

Cheers
CEO & Founder
GoFrugal Technologies

 

Make in India – A Social and Cultural Revolution starting at Home

Delighted and enthusiastic to hear and read about the “Make in India” initiative by PM Modi. I came back to India after a short stay in Qualcomm, USA in 1995 to start a software company, to ship software that is made in India to USA. Along with my brothers Sridhar and Sekar, we started our journey with Vembu Systems. The passion and drive then was to create a software product like the Honda brand, from India.

I spent my first month in 1995 trying to get a telephone connection on Tatkal. I succeeded in getting it by paying Rs. 30,000/- and spent about 10 full days in various BSNL offices including Chrompet and Tambaram telephone exchanges. We used dial-up modem to connect Internet few times a day to download mails and upload software.

We could not afford to invest more that time. We were hiring from our friend circle and from those who walked into our office to drop in their resume. Each one of us were working minimum 12 hours a day and almost for first 5 years most of us only knew work. There was no life outside office. I really enjoyed working with almost every single person we hired. Every person had the eagerness and desire to succeed, were totally committed, were willing to put in as much time as it takes to deliver and were all willing to follow me. I remember myself as a cocky and an impatient manager.

We succeeded in figuring our way out, finding our feet to establish a business and grow it.

Looking back at India then and now, a lot has changed.

Today, most of the things any entrepreneur wants or needs are available. There are lots of money, best infrastructure, lots of guidance by people who have been there and have already done that. The world’s best practices are also available at finger tips/search.

I honestly feel we have all the resources to deliver on “Make in India” dream and convert it into a reality. But, do we have the resourcefulness?

We have the demographic dividend. Everyone from farms to factories and from campuses to companies are struggling to recruit even semi-skilled people who are capable enough to be trained on the job. PM Modi’s 3S mantra of Skill, Speed, and Scale is very apt for making things in India but the fundamental need is the professional ethics and hard work. Do we have the ethics, passion, apptite, aspiration, commitment and the willingness to work hard work to make things in India or are we just consumers?

#MakeInIndiaI feel “Make in India” must start in every home and in every primary school. Only if parents instill values, ethics, responsibility, respect for efforts, invest in developing comprehensive skills, environment awareness, and problem solving at a young age – the “Make in India” dream can become a reality. Parents and grandparents should go back to tell the stories that teach ethics and values in addition to kids growing up only watching Barbie’s, Ninja Hattori, and Harry Potter.

The post-liberalization growth had a negative impact on Indian middle class and it is showing up in the youth joining the workforce now. The middle class then had American ethics and values and the middle class now wants to live a western life, as they see it on TV.

We have started believing that success is all about contacts, recommendations, pulling strings, money, and merit does not matter. Only when we believe ethics, talent, skill, merit, and hard work matters, we can make things in India that we will be all proud of.

Till then, succeeding in “Make in India” is an accident against all odds. To make things in India that are relevant to the world, we must first make things that we are proud of consuming. Only if we build products and offer services in India that can compete against the best products in the world, we can take them to the world. Without a vibrant local market, any success will be short-lived.

Let each one of us be a good parent, develop good primary school teachers, and create a vibrant, healthy, competitive local market, so that we can deliver world class products and services, locally from India. Only then, we can have a sustained and repeatable success globally.