Sinlung /
01 August 2013

Mizoram MLM Venture Draws Flak

By Linda Chhakchhuak

A screenshot of the advertisement for the marketing firm

Aizawl, Aug 1 : Most state governments in the country are trying hard to bust fraud deposit collecting companies and multi-level marketing enterprises. But one seems to have found the grass greener on the other side.

The Mizoram government has launched its own multi-level marketing company — Mizoram Direct Marketing Limited (MDML) — in collaboration with Chennai-based RMP Infotech Private Limited, a company that is allegedly involved in several such ventures.

Mizoram principal secretary of industries C. Lallawmsanga launched the venture recently, claiming that it had the blessings of chief minister Lalthanhawla. He said the government had decided to get into multi-level marketing and direct marketing of consumer goods to eradicate unemployment as the local “geographical conditions did not allow setting up of industries”, negating, in the process, the raison d’etre of his own department.

Two senior bureaucrats — Teresea Vanlalhruaii and Lalbiakthanga Chhakchhuak — are directors of the company, along with Lallawmsanga, who also awarded the operating licence to Mizo Life Marketing Solutions Limited at the launch.

Many in the administration are, however, questioning the motive behind the move, which is being seen as an impropriety on the part of a government that has been struggling to curb operations of these very types of enterprises for more than a decade now.

Chief secretary L. Tochhong is now reportedly trying to prevail upon Lalthanhawla to close down the enterprise, which was also lent credence by the fact that National Informatics Centre (NIC) had hosted the official website. It was, however, taken offline recently at the chief secretary’s insistence.

Moreover, the Facebook page of the venture and other sites still proudly advertise the wares with pictures of the state’s chief minister and governor Vakkom B. Purushothaman.

Government sources said the venture’s USP was that it would not come under the Prize Chits & Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, as it was a government undertaking.

But no government undertaking, even a legitimate one, can be set up without legislation by taking the Assembly into confidence, sources said, adding that this was no way to solve the current financial crisis or unemployment in the state.

Even the state’s people, who have seen several such enterprises come and go in the past decade, are finding it hard to digest the probability of the government becoming their “upline” or “downline”, as seniors or subordinates are called in multi-level marketing terminology. “They should be ashamed,” said a lecturer here, who said he had watched all the uploaded videos and read web reports on the venture.

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