Indian govt to set up new startup advisory council

Rumours suggest stalwarts from the likes of Infosys, Ola, BYJU’S are going to be part of this startup advisory council, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

The Indian government has plans to set up a startup advisory council to help startups engage with the government on a regular basis. Sources say this council will include the likes of Infosys Co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Ola Founder Bhavish Aggarwal, BJYU’S Founder Byju Raveendran, and Founding Partner of 3one4 Capital Siddarth Pai.

There is a long set of suggested names and the government will announce the final set after the Union Budget to be presented on February 1.

The decision to create this council was discussed at the 2019 Global Venture Capital Summit, organised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Goa government.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, the jury is out, debating about whether the Indian government should really create a council, especially when it has already launched a Startup India programme, which has already come under criticism about how the Rs 10,000 crore “fund of funds” is being deployed.

The government will deploy the entire fund of funds by 2024 or earlier. The programme was kickstarted in January 2016.

Sources say that what started slowly has now picked up steam as startup activity has accelerated.

The government invested Rs 2,669.83 crore in 279 startups and the government also wants 10 percent of this total corpus to back startups founded by women. The fund is managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

According to YourStory data, a total of $47 billion has come into the startup ecosystem over the last four years. Bengaluru is the leading city for startup activity because of its technical talent.

As for the "startup advisory council", only time will tell if it can engage with startups on policy, especially when things like ride-hailing and electric mobility startups are completely dependent on governments to help them experiment and prosper.

Technology always leads policy and it is for this reason, perhaps, the Indian government wants to create an advisory council.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)