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Modi’s ambitious Startup India backed by a Rs10,000 crore fund

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(Credit: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during an event to launch an initiative to bolster start-ups in New Delhi on January 16, 2016. Indian entrepreneurs will receive generous tax breaks and face dramatically reduced red tape when starting and closing a business, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said January 16, as he launched a pet initiative to bolster India's fast-growing startup scene. Speaking at a gathering of 2,000 entrepreneurs from India, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, Modi outlined a slew of measures under Start Up India including exempting startups from income tax for their first three years. INDIA-STARTUPS
January 20
4:09 AM 2016

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of his ambitious plan Startup India in New Delhi last Saturday. The intent is to 'unobstacle' the path for young entrepreneurs' startups by minimizing bureaucratic interventions.

The highly global successful meet in the capital had some big names in it, including Travis Kalanick - founder, Uber; Masayoshi Son - founder and CEO, Softbank; Kunal Bahl - founder, Snapdeal; Vijay Shekhar Sharma - founder, paytm to name a few, as reported by The Financial Times.

While many young people are breaking away from the conventional jobs and starting something of their own, more and more are preferring to move away from India to a place with preferably lesser regulations and policies, like Singapore and the US. To ensure a flourishing culture of digital entrepreneurship at the grassroots level which stays within the country, the prime minister has come up with the Rs10,000-crore project.

According to Forbes, "The less the government is involved, the greater the progress," Modi said in his speech when he explained to his 2000+ audience how this project will set the tone for India, where people will realize that a startup culture can thrive within the country despite the government and not because of it.

A number of benefits like - faster patent registration and protection for IP rights, relaxed norms for a startup's public procurements, registration in a single day through an app, 80% reduction in fees for filing of patents, income tax exemption for the first three years effective April 2016 - have caused much excitement among the Indian youth. At the same time, there is a niggling doubt whether the execution will be just as good. Sharad Sharma, co-founder of Ispirt echoed this sentiment in his statement, "The government's action plan is directionally correct. But the tangible progress on a checklist for startups to stay-in-India has been modest. We are hopeful that many more issues can be resolved in the forthcoming Indian budget in end February."

Despite some raised eyebrows and critical comments, The Times of India shows that both the veterans and young entrepreneurs are extremely positive about the entire thing. "Instead of controlling, the government is acting as a catalyst by removing friction and increasing ease of doing business. This validation of the startup culture will also lead to parents appreciating their kids if they decide to venture out on their own. It is a balanced approach as it targets not just top of the pyramid but the bottom as well," said IT expert, Shashikant Chaudhary.

Businesswoman Rina Sinha feels this move should pave the way for growth. "Unlike in the 1960s and 1970s, Indians no longer need to move abroad for exciting business opportunities. They can stay at home and help bring in business and money to their own country. The government no longer has a myopic view of the future, which is a great thing," she said.

For now, the startup wave seems to have moved in the right direction. But the final verdict will be withheld till it is proved that the government's verbal commitments are reflected in their actions, and some tangible results are revealed. 

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