Rajasthan is all set to roll out its startup policy. How different is it from other States' policy?

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Entrepreneurship is the new cool in the country and State governments are now scrambling to make things smoother and easier for startups. Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh already have aggressive plans to foster entrepreneurship, and now joining the group is Rajasthan.

Akhil Arora, Secretary ITes and Communications, Rajasthan government told YourStory that Rajasthan’s e-Governance, IT/ITeS Policy 2015 and the new startup policy were created to make the State the next IT hub of the country.

Seeing how startups usually faced difficulties while participating or dealing with the government, Rajasthan wants to make that process easier.

It is envisaging a plan to implement this through the Be Startup Empanelment Platform, which will make it easier for startups to participate in the tendering process for large government projects. The government has also opened up its offices for feedback from startups.

Two months ago, Karnataka defined what a startup is and offered a host of benefits (read the Karnataka policy here). Is the Rajasthan policy any different? One difference could be that the government wants to work with startups rather than just incubating them.

Rajasthan-startup-policy_Cover_Yourstory
Image Credit: Aditya Ranade

What are the key points and takeaways from the policy?

  1. Achievement of up to five lakh direct employable professionals in the ICT sector
  2. Development of at least 2,000 technology startups in the State and prioritisation of IT/ITeS/ESDM sector
  3. Increase in the current investment in IT/ITeS sector by 10 times.
  4. Increase in the IT turnover to Rs 50,000 crore.
  5. Increase in IT exports from the State to Rs 5000 crore.
  6. 50 incubators in Rajasthan
  7. Angel and venture capital of Rs 500 crore (fund-of-funds) to be mobilised for startups
“Rajasthan is the first State to enable utilisation of all its services and applications by startups and IT organisations by the mechanism of API/web services, through Raj Sewa Dwaar, Rajasthan's service delivery gateway,” adds Akhil.

Tax benefits

All major benefits being provided through the Karnataka IT policy are being provided in the Rajasthan eGovernance and IT/ITeS policy 2015, in similar or better quantity. In addition, the government claims that the following benefits are being provided only in Rajasthan:

  1. Up to 100 percent VAT benefit
  2. Customised package of benefits to enterprises
  3. IT/ITeS, electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) and robotics declared as priority sectors
  4. Subsidy on bandwidth for connectivity
  5. Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund/SME Tech Fund RVCF II
  6. Exemption from zoning regulations and land conversion
  7. Interest subsidy
  8. Reimbursement on patent filing costs and quality certifications
  9. Outstanding performance awards
  10. Manpower development subsidy

Funding and robust e-governance architecture

Currently, there are also two funds to invest in startups and mid-stage companies operating in growth sectors, namely Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund and SME Tech Fund II. The funds are supported by 15 investors, of which the lead investors are the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO).

The government has also begun taking several initiatives to make Rajasthan the next IT hub in India. The State currently has its own team of close to 3,000 IT professionals who have worked on the e-governance architecture and framework.

Akhil says, “Rajasthan has been very aggressive towards promotion of e-governance and ensuring transparent, reliable, efficient and effective access to services and communication between people and the government. The State took a conscious decision to move towards service-oriented architecture and all applications were mandated to integrate/migrate to the same.”

The aim of the government is:

  1. Establishing seven Smart Cities in Rajasthan by 2020
  2. Positioning Rajasthan as the best IT investment destination
  3. Positioning and branding Jaipur as IT, ITeS and R&D Hub in north and west India

Rajasthan is the first State to have one integrated, centralised and unified service delivery platform. The government is also working on the following for service delivery:

  1. Implementation of existing and future e-governance and m-governance projects in the State with emphasis on service delivery, Right To Information and grievance redressal.
  2. E-enablement of all public services, which would include e-submission of forms, electronic workflows, e-payments, use of DSC, online/SMS-based status tracking and final delivery of services electronically. It also includes (wherever required) cross-sharing of data amongst various departments/ government agencies, and e-authentication.
  3. Uniform and unified datasets, collated centrally at a hub to take care of issues like duplication, isolation and obsolescence. In complete adherence to the State e-governance framework, such datasets follow a common structure, are centrally located, controlled and managed, and shall provide complete flexibility of expansion and integration using state-of-the-art technologies.
  4. Affidavits and notary attestation have been removed and datasets shall be used instead of documents for service delivery.
  5. Secure individual, family, governmental and organisational e-space shall be provided to residents and organisations to enable them to secure their digital dialogue and to allow safe document storage, sharing, e-sign and approval protocol to avoid providing attestation of duplicate documents, enabling service delivery through all government departments centrally, in a paperless fashion.
  6. 'One Person One Identity' shall be achieved with unique digital profile for each resident under a common framework.
  7. For delivering e-services to citizens, government will promote the use of upcoming technologies like NFC, cloud computing and social media. Further, multiple channels like mobile phones, tablets, call centres, TV etc., will be used for such delivery.
  8. Efforts to provide all government services through mobile devices for on-the-move service delivery. Endeavour will be to provide services ‘anywhere, anytime, any network, any device’.
  9. Self-service kiosks are being installed across the State.
  10. An integrated platform for reality check leveraging iFacts is being used by the government to ensure end-to-end grievance redressal.
  11. A system has been put in place to continuously analyse the behaviour of the residents while using government portals, so as to constantly improve them and make them more user-friendly.
  12. Knowledge resources/digital library is under process of being put in place that will maintain a repository of documents for use by general public and government authorities. This would include official gazette notifications, acts, rules, regulations, circulars, policies and scheme documents for electronic access in a time-bound manner.
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