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Last updated: 26 Oct, 2018  

startup.thmb.jpg Startup India: Much more needs to be done

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Bikky Khosla | 23 Oct, 2018

'Startup India', a flagship initiative by the government, first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 15 August 2015 address from the Red Fort, was later launched in 2016 with much fanfare. This 19-point Action Plan was based on three pillars: simplification and handholding, funding support and incentives and industry-academia partnership and incubation. Since then more than two and a half years have passed, and naturally the question comes to mind how much we have been benefitted.

According to official figures, a total of 8,765 startups have been recognized by DIPP since Jan 2016 and 6,954 startups have reported employment generation of 81,264. Again, the Startup Intellectual Property Protection Scheme has benefited 671 patent applicants and 941 trademark applicants. Under the Fund of Funds scheme, 25 VC funds have invested Rs. 569 crore in 120 Startups. Similarly, under the Startup India Hub programme, over 41,000 users have registered and more than 4.4 million users have visited the Hub since launch.

Among other measures, 19 States have implemented Startup Policies; 21 regulatory changes have been made to enhance ease of doing business, and the insolvency resolution process duration has been cut to 90 days for startups; more than 18,000 young entrepreneurs were supported through mentorship under the Startup India Yatra initiative; and 2,441 Tinkering Labs are being established in selected schools to inculcate the "do it yourself" spirit among entrepreneurs. All these steps sound encouraging.

But entrepreneurs claim that the ground reality is not that encouraging. According to a recent survey, around 80 percent of startups said that they have not benefited in any way from the Startup India Mission. The survey finds some major challenges facing the sector, such as lack of skilled workforce and funding and inadequate formal mentoring. In other words, it seems there is a big gap between the 'Startup' objectives and the real needs of our startups. This gap needs to be addressed.

I invite your opinions.

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