Associations Sprout Even As Industry Shrinks

  • Abhishek Behl
  • India
  • Jan 06, 2012



Last week saw another Industrial Association being formed in Gurgaon, ostensibly for the purpose of uniting the industrialists, fighting for their cause, and providing a platform to pursue issues of common interest with the government and its agencies. No doubt it is tough to deal with the establishment anywhere in India, but is multiple lobby groups the answer? Or are they merely being used by vested interests to further their own agenda?

This is at a time when manufacturers, whom these associations claim to represent, are facing a question mark over their future. Irregular power supply, water supply, parking, high cost of labour, labour conflicts, and rising cost of living is forcing the industry to shift to newer locations outside Gurgaon – and even Haryana. Despite the reducing factory output, Udyog Vihar has at least four industrial associations that claim to represent the interest of the owners. 

Insiders says that most of these associations, while fighting for the cause of industry, are often at loggerheads. Udyog Vihar is a small turf, but every group here has carved out its zone of influence. The chieftains have their own agendas; while some of them are running industries, others are landlord industrialists, and some of them have rented out buildings to other industry.

In addition to the differences among themselves, they also have to contend with national associations like the CII and Assocham.

However, they do often co-ordinate action when dealing with HSIIDC. HSIIDC is their main ‘opposition’, as the agency is responsible for managing industrial areas in Gurgaon, as well as other parts of the State – for issues like External Development Charges (EDC), the new Estate Policy, the New Industrial Policy, the lack of civic infrastructure.

One of the association heads told Friday Gurgaon that there were only two methods to get things done in Gurgaon – either sit on the table, or go to the courts. “No one listens to protests, and agitations do not result in any positive action”, he says. He adds that there has been a growing tendency among people to form associations, but it is very difficult to run these – as members will not devote their time, money and energy for common cause. 

Another point that he raised was that when multiple associations are formed, then the authorities are able to easily follow the ‘divide and rule policy’, and play one against the other. It is important that industrialists understand the importance of being united, so that the cause is not lost, he suggests.

Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI)

The Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry was formed in 1979, and currently it has around 350 members. Its area of operation includes Gurgaon, Manesar, Pataudi, Dharuhera and Rozka-Meo Industrial areas.

GCCI President P.K Jain says that the chamber was formed to provide a common platform, to put issues before the government. 

Jain also revealed that GCCI is the only body in the city that has been recognised by the Government of India, to issue a Certificate of Origin. The Visa recommendations made by GCCI are accepted by embassies in Delhi.

However, as far as formation of several associations is concerned, the GIA Secretary S.K Ahuja believes that such groups are not sustainable in the long run – and often hurt the cause of industry. The members must be interested and willing to give time for its activities, he says, adding “an organisation is successful if it is respected by the government and the industry”.

Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA)

The Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA) is the oldest industry body. It has played an important and active role in the development of local industry, as it aims to create an environment that is conducive to the growth of business.

GIA was formed in 1966. It has around 400 large, medium and small enterprises as its members, and it believes in acting as a catalyst to bring about change in the business environment. GIA President V.P Bajaj, an industry veteran, says, “We have good relations with government, and actively engage with it in the formation of new industry policies, decisions and guidelines”, he says. Recently, the association also took up the labour problems being faced by the industry. 

Bishan Mehrish, Secretary GIA, informed that the association also helps local entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in different geographies, and works closely with government to further economic growth.

Mehrish, however, was not very optimistic over the formation of new associations in the city, and opined that this only harms the cause as a whole. “Forming an association with 20 to 30 members, without an objective, does not serve any purpose”, he asserted.

Udyog Vihar Industries Association (UVIA)

This association was found in 1992, to provide a platform to the small and medium enterprises operating in Udyog Vihar Industrial Area.

The association has currently 400 members, and is led by A.P Jain, who is of the opinion that government policies and regulations must be implemented in a fair manner. The most important issue concerning them recently has been the poor parking facilities in the industrial area, and the EDC charges imposed by the HSIIDC.

In a most positive development,  a UVIA case against the imposition of EDC by HSIIDC was upheld by the High Court recently. It accepted the demand of withdrawing the EDC imposed by HSIIDC on entrepreneurs of Udyog Vihar (@ Rs. 348.00 per sqmtr.), as also an earlier decision of the then Commissioner, Industry P.K Chaudhry, IAS.

UVIA is an authorised Contract Exchange center for Industrial development activities. It organises Skill development programmes and Buyer Seller meets, in association with NSIC, Govt. of India. UVIA also takes up various issues of entrepreneurs with the relevant Govt. Agencies, and helps in resolving them.

Gurgaon Udyog Association (GUA)

The Gurgaon Udyog Association was formed in 1995, to help the industrialists in Udyog Vihar. The current President Parveen Yadav, says his father started this association after being exasperated by the inability of local HSIIDC officials to take any decision. The association has 450 members at present.

“It was because of the efforts of GUA that decision making has been decentralised. Now many important decisions – like transfer of property, leasing, and paying different fees – can take place in Gurgaon itself”, says Yadav. His current agenda is to ensure the power situation improves in Udyog Vihar, as well as improvement in parking facilities. He also wants the crane service used to tow the wrongly parked cars to stop, as it has become a harassment for local industry.

As far as the formation of different associations is concerned, Yadav says that some people have assumed that running such groups is a profitable activity. “They also want to wield influence with the government and the local officials, but it actually hurts the industry as a whole”, he asserts.

IMT Industrial Association, Manesar

IMT Industrial Association President Manoj Tyagi says that the association has come a long way since 2003, when it was formed. It has managed to get a number of demands fulfilled by the government and HSIIDC.

“We had asked for housing facilities, proposed the metro to be extended to Manesar, and several other things. Many demands have been met, and more developments are in the pipeline”, says Tyagi. 

Tyagi says that he has learnt that patience and perseverance help in getting things done as far as government is concerned. “The association has managed to get sites approved for two dispensaries, a fire station, and an additional police station in Manesar. This is a great achievement”, he says, adding that the setting up the ESI hospital in the industrial area was the best thing to happen here.

Forming associations is an easy part, but running them is difficult. “Everyone wants to be the boss, but is not willing to devote time and resources. India is a free country; people can form associations, but they must realise that multiple associations only harms the cause”, says Tyagi.

Chamber of Commerce and Industries Gurgaon

Led by Colonel Raj Singla, this Association has been very active in taking on the HSIIDC and the government, over what it says have been autocratic decisions and policies. Singla is particularly peeved over the new Estate Management Policy that he says has been imposed by the bureaucracy in incomplete disregard to the interests of the small and medium enterprises.


IDC Industrial Association: The latest entrant

IDC Industrial Association is the latest addition to the growing list of industry groups in the Millennium City. Led by noted social activist and industrialist Dharam Sagar, this association aims to take up the issues being faced by industrialists located in IDC Gurgaon, the oldest industrial area in the city.

The most important issue, says Dharam Sagar, is to change the land use regulations of IDC so that these plots can be used for commercial activities. The industrial area, Sagar says, covers only 50 acres; and it lies now in the heart of Gurgaon – making it very difficult to run industrial units. “The industrial area in the centre of the city puts tremendous pressure on the infrastructure and other civic facilities. As such we want to shift the units to someplace outside, and use these plots to construct commercial facilities”, says Sagar. 

The association members say that soon this matter will be taken up with the Chief Minister. They also cited instances where IDCs in Panipat, Sonipat, Bahadurgarh and Yamuna Nagar have been declared commercial, as they fall in the municipal areas – like the IDC in Gurgaon.

Government agencies have also made positive recommendations in this regard, says Sagar; adding that other issues concerning the IDC will also be taken up by the association.


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