Dell executive wades into India

A senior executive working for Dell has said that India is a terrible place to try and do business.

Amit Midha, president of Asia Pacific and Japan for Dell, told Reuters that the winning combination of power blackouts, uncertain tax rules and contracts that are not honoured make India a difficult place to do business.

While India’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in nearly a decade, it is also strangling access to foreign investors with mountains of red tape, Midha said.

He said there are too many decision makers who change too often. When a new decision maker starts work they don’t honour the contract previously signed.

Recently Germany’s Fraport, the world’s second-biggest airport operator, decided to shut its development office in India, citing a lack of opportunities.

Midha said that if a company leaves India it suggests that this place is not easy to work.

Recent proposals aimed at targeting tax evasion, including retrospective taxation on foreign corporate deals involving Indian assets, panicked foreign investors, he said. Fortunately the plans were shelved but investors think there is no point operating in India.

When you have policies like retroactive taxes it makes your accounts a mess because you can’t assess results or report them.

Dell has operations in eight cities in India, with 27,000 employees.

Midha’s comments were the opposite of what his boss Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell said in July.

He said that Dell was bullish on India, along with China and Brazil.

Midha said that Dell’s experience in India has helped it work out how to deal with businesses with a poor-infrastructure market.

He added that Dell had no plans to leave India and is now familiar with how to “navigate” in the country.