Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Startup India: A Quick Analysis

Startup India Standup India, brainchild of Modi, is going to do wonders for the nation by creating jobs and raising the standard of living. This all-inclusive action plan will boost entrepreneurial ventures and we can expect a decent inflow of foreign funds. But before we jump the gun, let’s analyze a few of the initiatives announced.

Self-certification and registration through an app or a portal will indeed make startups’ lives so much hassle-free. This will ensure that entrepreneurs are not discouraged in registering their companies due to lack of a simple process.

Teaching students innovation and business right from an early age is going to go a long way in developing the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the country. The Atal Innovation Mission and setting up incubators will act as the trigger for interested youth and give them the right direction and supervision for their projects.

Patent protection, adoption of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and legal support and assistance will make entrepreneurs feel secured and help them concentrate on their main job. Coming to the financial part of it - no income tax for three years, no capital gains tax, tax exemptions for higher values and rebate on filing patent applications – these measures would revolutionise the startup growth in the country.

And to top it all, if the startup fails, the government will assist to get it back on track; and in the worst case, it will help the startup take a faster route to exit.

This is truly a watershed moment for entrepreneurs in India; the Startup India campaign is highly commendable. Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank said, “In the next 10 years India will repeat the growth China saw in the last 10 years and in my opinion, India could be bigger.”

But the major point of trouble here is the execution. We have often seen a grand vision which ultimately falters during implementation. The bane of our system has always been terrible or faulty execution.

It should not just be that governments help startups; the startups should also be involved in policy-making and startup governance. These steps should develop a healthy startup ecosystem. Next, the app, for example, for registration, should be ready and running within a few months. Who will build it, what will the cost be – these are questions that still wouldn’t have been looked at. How will teaching entrepreneurship to students and youth be included in the curriculum is not very clear, and do we even have enough qualified teachers to teach on this subject?

In no way am I demeaning the efforts of the government in trying to support new businesses, promote entrepreneurship and thus, unleash the power and energy of young India. But care should be taken to monitor the progress and the status of these action points. It is absolutely essential that we see these ideas actually see the light of the day. 

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