In her maiden budget speech, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a television channel focused on Startups will be launched under state run broadcaster Doordarshan. The funding will be provided by the central government but will be designed and managed by Startups themselves.
“This shall serve as a platform for promoting startups, discussing issues affecting their growth, match-making with venture capitalists and for funding and tax planning. This channel shall be designed and executed by startups themselves,” said Sitharaman in the 2019 budget speech.
Finance Minister Sitharaman also tried to address the issues faced by entrepreneurs. Previously the Startup founders complained that they were being harassed by IT officials in the name of pro-activeness. “Funds raised by start-ups will not require any kind of scrutiny from the Income Tax Department,” said the Finance minister to assure ease of doing business for Startups. On the harassment issue by IT officers, Sitharaman said “It will be ensured that no inquiry or verification in such cases can be carried out by the Assessing Officer without obtaining approval of his supervisory officer.”
Entrepreneurs of the country have suffered for a long time due to License Raj. The unnecessary bureaucratic interference at every step of business development became counter-productive for the Indian economy. However, the short socialist regime could not alter the entrepreneurial energy embedded in Indian culture for thousands of years. As India liberalized its economy during the balance of payments crisis, the economy came on track and the country has witnessed high growth in the last two decades. Empowering startups in India has been one of the motives of the Modi government so as to drive economic growth and job creation.
As per experts, the Startups TV channel launched by the government will encourage private players to start more programmes focused on entrepreneurs. “Once the government sets the ball rolling, it will influence private TV channels to do something similar and bring startups into the mainstream”, said Santosh Panda, founder of ticketing startup Explara.
The Modi government launched two programmes named Startup India and Standup India to encourage young entrepreneurships in the populous country. There are three pillars of Startup India Simplification and Hand-holding, Funding Support and Incentives, Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation. The government launched Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana to give low interest loans to entrepreneurs from underprivileged background. 15.56 lakh loans worth Rs 7.23 lakh crore have been sanctioned under Mudra scheme and more than 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are women.
The other program, Standup India is similar to Startup India but it is focused to support entrepreneurship among women and SC & ST communities. Startup India was launched in August 2015 while Standup India was launched in April 2016. The government is also working towards setting up a mechanism called SETU (Self-utilization and Talent Utilization) to provide technical assistance and incubation to startups.
India became third largest country after United States and China in terms of powerful Startup Ecosystem in less than three decades of economic liberalization. In recent years, the Indian startup ecosystem has also taken off and has matured. Factors such as availability of funding, consolidation activities by a number of firms, evolving technology space and a burgeoning demand within the domestic market have led to the emergence of startups. The first budget of the second term Modi government has continued to lay focus on promoting startups and launching a dedicated TV channel is a welcome and productive step.