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Dr. Ajay Kela, President & CEO, WF – Quoted in Mint

Govt may form panel to select start-ups eligible for incentives

In August, while delivering the Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi floated the slogan “Start-up India, Stand up India” to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people.

New Delhi: The government is likely to set up an inter-ministerial board on the lines of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board to vet proposals to select start-ups who will be eligible for incentives under the Start-up India Action Plan to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

“The board will be at the joint secretary level and will meet from time to time to vet the proposals,” a government official involved in the process of finalizing the Start-up India action plan said, speaking under condition of anonymity. The official said various approvals like those on company registration will be fast-tracked for start-ups. “They will be exempted from all inspections including labour inspections,” a government official said speaking under condition of anonymity.

narendramodi on MInt

“We are making legal charges of filing intellectual property rights (IPR) free. Start-ups have to only give statutory charges. We will have a panel of advocates to help them. We will bear their charges,” the official added.

Investment firm SoftBank’s founder Masayoshi Son, taxi-hailing service Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick and collaborative workspace provider WeWork’s founder Adam Neumann will attend the government’s Start-up India event.

The event will be attended by around 40 innovators, venture capitalists and angel investors from Silicon Valley along with 1,500 founders of start-ups from across the country. In August, while delivering the Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi floated the slogan “Start-up India, Stand up India” to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people.

Speaking at a start-up event at San Jose, California, on 27 September, Modi said he sees start-ups, technology and innovation as exciting and effective instruments for India’s transformation, and for creating jobs for its youth. “When each of the 500-odd towns produces 10 start-ups and each of our 600,000 villages produce six small businesses, on a regular basis, we will create an enormous economic momentum and generate huge number of jobs in our country,” Modi had said. Adding that some of the outstanding start-ups from India are applying technology to transform areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture, clean energy, security, financial inclusion, and water management, Modi said he wants to see the idea and spirit of start-ups light up the economies and the fortunes of people in rural India.

“From handicrafts to tourism, the frontiers of possibilities and the scale of reach in India is immense,” he said.

Considering the importance of the event to the promotion of start-up culture in the country, it will be telecast live in all Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, National Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Information Technology, central universities and to youth groups in over 350 districts of the country.

Google Inc. will conduct a session titled “Launchpad Accelerator” where early-stage start-ups can make live pitches to potential investors to win $50,000 in non-equity investment. SoftBank president and chief operating officer Nikesh Arora will interact with participants on various aspects of start-up funding. Indian start-ups will also showcase some of their unique innovations through a virtual exhibition. The day-long event will involve workshops and panel discussions on topics including “Unleashing entrepreneurship and innovation: What do Indian start-ups need to grow and prosper”; “Celebrating women: Stories of innovative women entrepreneurs”; “How digitization will change India’s future”; “Making Indian healthcare leapfrog”; “Financial inclusion is within reach” and “Show me the money: How do we capitalize entrepreneurship?”

Secretaries of key government departments will also answer questions on how the government will create an enabling ecosystem for start-ups.

Ajay Kela, president and chief executive officer at Wadhwani Foundation, said the formal unveiling of the action plan will set the ball rolling for a start-up boom in India. “With an already strong momentum on entrepreneurship among our best and brightest, the government support and favourable policies will go a long way in fueling a vibrant financial ecosystem and a well-trained and accessible mentor network including accelerators and incubators that can maximize success of new enterprises through readily available knowledge and guidance,” he added.


Ajay Kela in Mint