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Last updated: 30 Aug, 2021  

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Bikky Khosla | 30 Aug, 2021

In the 80th 'Mann Ki Baat' radio broadcast, the Prime Minister said that the startup culture is expanding today even to the country’s smaller cities. He added that just a few days ago, toys in our country were being discussed, but now, within no time, our youth too resolutely decided to work towards positioning Indian toys in the world market. This sounds encouraging. No doubt, the startup sector in India is getting vibrant with every passing day.

The government is doing a lot in this direction --we must admit, and one such initiative taken in this direction only last week is the launch of the SAMRIDH programme. This programme --which will provide funding support, while also helping in bringing skill sets together --aims to further the Indian start-up growth. Also, according to last week’s media reports, the government will soon launch a special incentive scheme to support 75 startups in the areas of telemedicine, digital health and AI.

While the aforesaid developments are welcome, several major challenges are still facing the startup sector, however. In a letter written to the PM recently, for instance, heads of 22 top startups and venture capital firms have urged government to allow direct overseas listing of Indian companies. According to them, this would be the ‘single most significant, big-bang reform’ for the sector. It is no brainier to say that such a measure would help our startups access international capital to become globally competitive.

Experts also point out that there is an urgent need to simplify compliances for startups and rationalize taxation. According to a latest media report, twenty four unicorns –all of them founded by Indians-- had either flipped or were incorporated abroad mostly due to foreign investors' asking. Such flipping is, no doubt, against our national economic interest, resulting in loss of significant tax revenues. The Centre should move in urgently to avert this trend.

I invite your opinions.

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