“You will never get an opportunity to ask questions directly. Ask and grill as much as you can,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Ayog, during a TiE Global Summit panel that was made up of people from Taxation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). We are now at the end of a year over the course of which much has been said and done about government policies like Startup India, Standup India, Digital India, and Make in India.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi made public his Startup India policy with a lot of fanfare, there were tax reforms announced and digital plans made, and SEBI decided to look at reforms and focus on startups.
Startup India — a long way to go
During Saturday's panel, moderated by Amitabh, experts took turns to throw light on what the government has done over the year and intends to do in the coming year.
According to Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP, the government could still benefit from more learning. He said,
“There have been tax benefits, and fund of funds have been launched. We are making some tweaks so that it makes Startup India easier. We have a long way to go. It has been a great learning experience even for the government. We ourselves had to understand a lot of things in regulations and law. Startups are the next big thing and we want to engage with startups.”
In order to push entrepreneurship and help startups, there has been an increased focus on digitisation this year. For a country that has had its work cut out in getting everyone into digitisation, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, MeiTy, believes that India has come a long way.
Bringing in India funds
While, through Digital India, efforts have been made to transform the lives of citizens through simplified steps for interaction with the government, Aruna opined that there still were fragments of the society that needed to understand the nuances of digitisation.
Also, when it comes to the fund of funds, she believed that the government has to make tweaks and focus better. “There now is a need for funds that are India-specific, and the government is looking at that,” she said.
Taxes and tinkering
On tax rebates and SEBI regulations, both Pragya Saxena and SEBI Chairman UK Sinha agreed that taxation systems were now working towards what most developed countries have.
“At NITI Ayog, we are focusing on tinkering labs and incubation centres. The focus for us will be schools,” added Amitabh.
With the growing number of startups in the country and even unicorns looking for protection in the face of stiff competition, it looks like the government's keenness in protecting the interests of startups in India is not dying anytime soon.