Priyanka Pugaokar

The Federation of All India IT Associations (FAIITA), stormed the industry in 2014 with an agitation against the predatory pricing practices of e Commerce giants.

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The federation which was formed to protect the offline channel ecosystem in the country soon lost the momentum after its first big boycott call against the national distributors and brand owners.

Certain sections of the ecosystem now view that FAIITA has failed to create its influence unlike industry giants like NASSCOM and MAIT in the last two years. However, FAIITA president Champak Raj Gurjar has strongly denied the charge of inactivity of the federation.

In an exclusive interaction with Channel Times, FAIITA president Champak Raj Gurjar reminded the vision of the federation and its efforts for the betterment of the offline channel model. “FAIITA is silent but not inactive. We are very much focused on our direction and we will soon emerge as a strong voice of 30,000 offline channel partners.”

Gurjar said that FAIITA has an ambition to introduce its own brand under the Make-in-India initiative. He said that the federation has already initiated a pilot project in association with Tamil Nadu based Confed ITA and the project will take off soon.

“We are helping Confed ITA in launching its own line of IT peripheral products under the brand name of ‘CONCOM Communications Limited (CCL). We will start with entry level products and later extend our product portfolio. If this project works out in Tamil Nadu, the same will be implemented in other states. This is a very ambitious project of FAIITA and if we succeeded it will make us stronger in the industry”, Gaujar said.

The CCL brand of products is expected to enter the market by the second week of May. Confed ITA, backed by the membership strength of nearly 4500 members, will position the brand. It will be compulsory for all the members to sell the CCL brand at MOP. Jaguar said that Kerala based AKITDA, Gujarat based FITAG and UP based UPCDA are already ready to implement the same project in their respective states. “Almost 70 per cent people will buy what they want, but 30 per cent people will change their mind. We are targeting on that 30 per cent market share”, he said.

On the allegation that has FAIITA softened its stand against the unethical practices of online marketplaces, Garjar said that fighting with online players is not a solution to the problem. “We have realized that there is no point in fighting against the e Commerce players. Instead, we decided to create our own brand and compete with e Commerce companies”, Gurjar said.

The success of FAIITA’s boycott call against national distributors was highly debated. The federation claimed that the strike was 100 per cent successful, however, according to reports; retailers did not associate with IT associations and did not participate in the agitation. The difference of opinion was also seen among the associations on the call of strike. Gurjar, however, denied that the agitation was a ‘flop show’. “We succeeded a lot in the agitation. The discounting for IT products has reduced substantially in last one year and it will further stabilize in coming days”, he said.

Unlike any other organization, FAIITA is also inseparable from disputes and the conflict of interest among the members. A regional association in east India openly castigated FAIITA and questioned its formation. Gurjar said that the federation is ready to talk to clear the misconception among certain sections of the fraternity. He also refused having internal conflicts among the member associations and the national body.

“ FAIITA is a national body. Our role is to guide state associations. We cannot interfere in the day to day working of the regional associations. Local associations should come up with issues and we will take it up at the national level. FAIITA will frame guidelines which have to be followed by its member associations. The role and responsibilities are clear and I don’t see any conflict among the members.”

FAIITA inked an MoU with the Computer Association of Taiwan to facilitate exchange of technology and skills between both the countries in 2015. The federation also announced to introduce its B2B portal to compete with the OLS. However, nothing concrete has come in this direction yet.

On the allegation that FAIITA has failed to generate momentum unlike MAIT and NASSCOM, Gurjar said the comparison of FAIITA with the two industry bodies is not appropriate. “It is not right to compare us with NASSCOM and MAIT. FAIITA represents the offline reseller community who is surviving on a thin margin. Look at the membership fees of MAIT and NASSCOM. Our members cannot afford to pay lakhs of rupees to become members. We have several restrictions due to shortage of resources. FAIITA means business and we believe in practical work. The CCL project will take us ahead in the near future”, Gurjar said.