Startup India: Where It Was And Where It Is Now

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It was January 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the most awaited government policy that is Startup India policy. By launching this Government has finally noticed the revolution in Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem. Now the government is no more calling its youth a job seeker but addressing them as job creators.

Modi's Startup India Action Plan envisages to speed up the startup movement beyond the digital/technology sector to a wide array of sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, social sector, healthcare, education etc. and from existing tier 1 cities to tier 2 and 3 cities including semi-urban and rural areas.

It has almost been 7 months since the policy have been launched and during these months it has brought in lots of new parameters for startups to make their journey a hassle free.

What it has done

With the motive to provide a suitable platform to entrepreneurs, Government launched the Startup India Hub. It has been set up to resolve queries and to provide handholding support to startups.

With the help of this, entrepreneurs can seek clarifications pertaining to Certificate of Recognition as a "Startup", Certificate of Eligibility to avail tax benefits, information on incubators or funding and one can even get in touch with the Hub on its Toll-Free number.

Apart from this Government has announced that startups profits are not taxable for first three years. Now entrepreneurs can focus more on their business without worrying about the tax.

Further to support and protect intellectual property rights of budding entrepreneurs, Modi has cut the patent fees for startups by 80 per cent.

Also, to get incubators recognized by Government of India a module to recognize incubators has been launched. This allows them to issue recommendation letters to Startups.

To make it simple, I have jotted down the things which Policy has already done to benefit our budding entrepreneur.

1. Startup India Portal and Mobile App: These have been launched as an online platform for providing updates, information, recognition and eligibility certificates to Startups and other stakeholders.

2. Fund of Funds: A 'fund of funds' (FFS) of Rs 10,000 crores to support innovation driven startups has been established which shall be managed by SIDBI. The fund will invest in SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) which, in turn, will invest in Startups. Rs. 500 crore has been released to SIDBI in FY2015-16 and Rs. 600 crore in FY2016-17.

3. Self-Certification: Central pollution Control Board (CPCB) has exempted 36 industries in "white" category from all the applicable self-certifications under the 3 environment Acts (The water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess (Amendment) Act, 2003 and The Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981).

4. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM): The guidelines for harnessing private sector expertise to set up an incubator, annual grand challenge for innovative solutions to problems posed by industry and government departments, annual grand challenge for incubators and establishments of tinkering labs have been formulated and have been published on NITI Aayog's and Startup India websites.

5. Relaxed Norms for Public Procurement: Relaxed norms for public procurement for micro and small enterprises have been provisioned in the Procurement Policy of Ministry of MSME.

What it is doing

As per government records, till date 728 applications have been received in the Startup India portal. Out of them, 180 applications are complete and have been recognized as startups by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

Only 16 applicants are incorporated after June 1, 2016, and are thus eligible for consideration for tax benefits, as per the Finance Act 2016.

The Policy has augmented the list of recognized incubators to provide more avenues to startups so that they can obtain mentoring support.

20 industry bodies and organizations have been recognized by DIPP who will assess the innovative nature of startups and provide certificates to enable them to get recognition from DIPP.

They have set up a panel of facilitators to assist the startups file Intellectual Property applications. DIPP has decided to bear the facilitation cost on behalf of Startups.

What they will be doing:

DIPP has requested State governments and administration of Union Territories to set up hub as well as incubators to help Startups during various stages of their life cycle. Chief Secretaries of all States and Administrators of all Union Territories have been requested to partner with DIPP in taking the Startup India initiative forward;

Moreover, top 50 companies in India have been requested to contribute towards strengthening the incubation facilities in the country through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

With the above measures, the Government of India envisages to improve the participation of entrepreneurs in the Startup India programme across the country.

Government's efforts are sounding good to every entrepreneur and they are also accepting these changes with the big simile on their faces but time will only tell that how far these policies will benefit the Indian startups and allow their smile to last forever. Do tell us in the comments section below. Follow @EntrepreneurIND for more such exciting features and inspiring stories.