Startup India: As it happened
On 16th January 2016, the world witnessed probably the very first one-of-a-kind event dedicated to startups conducted by the Government of India. The event primarily aimed at revealing the Startup Action Plan of 2016 which basically eases up various challenges that startups had to face before.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea to ease compliances and regulations for startups was what led to “Startup India”. New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan, the venue where the event was being held was filled with 2000-odd startup Founders, Investors and enthusiasts alike. Over 1.5 lac people wanted to attend the event, I feel lucky that I was there to witness history in the making.
Now, for people like us, startup Founders, this had been one of the most anticipated events and looking back at it, one of the best ways to start off a new year with. The startup fraternity had been abuzz with the details of this event weeks ago because it might prove to be a game changer for fledgling companies.
It was tough to pinpoint the source of the unbridled energy because so many souls had gathered together at the same place to discuss about the startup scenario in India. Narendra Modi pointed out once during his 45-minute talk that he had seen the Vigyan Bhawan filled up to its brim quite a number of times, but he has never encountered such massive optimism and energy that the hall was filled up with at that point of time.
We are a bunch of hopeful people, and I guess that it was our hope and love for what we do that created such an electrifying atmosphere.
From what one could gather from the entire event is that, from April, it will be easier to setup and run a startup and you will receive the government’s assistance more or less all the time.
The notable incentives that were announced and new policies that will be implemented to encourage the growth of more startups:
- Simplification is the key and setting up a startup now involves a mobile-based application and an online portal through which you can register your startup.
- Self-certification will be allowed to reduce regulatory burdens on startups.
- Patent protection and IP rights procedure will be made more transparent according to PM Modi and fast track mechanisms will be present so that startups can realize the values of their IPRs.
- The government will provide a panel of facilitators that will help in providing legal support to startups and the government will bear all the fees incurred in the process.
- Startups will also be allowed to get an 80% rebate on filing patent applications so that they do not fall into the trap of financial burden during their nascent years.
- Exiting is now easier thanks to “Startup India”. Making an application and winding up on a fast track route will make it easier for startups to exit. Fast-tracking closure of businesses is now a reality.
- The government will have an initial corpus of Rs. 2500 crore per year to provide funding for the development and growth of startups.
- Exemptions will be awarded in case capital gains are used to invest in the government corpus for startups. To promote the growth of startups, all those that will be set-up after 2016 will be exempt from income-tax up till three years.
- Launch of Atal Innovation Mission that will promote the spirit of entrepreneurship through establishment of sector specific incubators and strengthening existing incubation facilities.
It was a jam packed day long event. There were distinguished panel of speakers including famous startup CEOs, investors and bureaucrats. For example Adam Neumann, WeWork CEO talked about how India’s democracy “embodies regeneration”. To him it is all about redefining the world through our actions and by being content as well. On the other hand Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick talked at length about how he feels that treating people honestly and offering them joy and calm through your services would be beneficial for the business.
There were other notable Indian startup CEOs present at the event like Snapdeal Founder, Kunal Bahl, Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of OLA, YourStory Founder Shradha Sharma, Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm and OYO Rooms’ Ritesh Agarwal to name a few. DIPP Secretary Mr. Amitabh Kant moderated a panel discussion of Secretaries of all major government departments, where the bureaucrats took questions from the audience and assured their department’s support to the Start Up India initiative.
With such a wonderful outlook towards startups and the government’s desire to bolster startup growth and development and provide hindrance support is a much welcome change from the earlier regimes. Personally, I love the announcement that no interference from government for startups which will go a long way in cutting the red tape the startup world was beginning to entangled into. Hopefully, we will see more innovative startups rise to the occasion and as the honorable PM said, “Hindustan mein koi aisa zila na ho,aisa block na ho jahan koi startup na shuru ho. ‘Start up India, Stand up India.”
With a little push and government support, Indian startups have the potential to achieve something colossal and “Startup India” is just a small step in this long journey.