PM Narendra Modi to unveil startup action plan today as a major breakthrough for entrepreneurship in India
Silicon Valley deep-pocketed investors congregate in Delhi to attend rollup of startup action plan, being billed as a major entrepreneurship initiative.
Among the issues the prime minister is expected to address are delays in incorporating and shutting down a firm, liberalissation of labour laws and easing flow of early-stage capital. The big day will also result in a clear definition of a startup.
Those involved in the framing of the road map expressed surprise at the speed with which the government pursued its agenda.
“I have seen politicians come and give speeches, make promises, do shopping and go back,” said BJ Arun, Silicon Valley-based CEO of mobile app development platform July Systems. “But I was shocked at the speed of this government,” said Arun who is travelling to New Delhi to speak at the event.
While the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) led the effort that involved dozens of rounds of discussions with multiple stakeholders, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) managed the task of making half a dozen government departments work together on the blueprint.
Recommendations were received from industry bodies iSpirt, Nasscom, Ficci and TiE, and several rounds of consultations were held with top Indian and global entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Among those who were a part of the talks were SoftBank President Nikesh Arora, Snapdeal Chief Executive Officer Kunal Bahl, Oyo Rooms founder Ritesh Agarwal and former Infosys director Mohandas Pai.
While Modi had announced the Startup India, Stand up India mission in August last year, the pace of work quickened mainly after the prime minister’s visit to the Silicon Valley in September. During a breakfast meeting with the Indian-American diaspora in the Valley, DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant had promised the gathering that the mission would be formally launched in December and invited startup champions in the Valley for its inauguration.
He had also promised to reduce compliance for new business and resolution of the capital gains tax issue. Kant was accompanied by K Vijay-Raghavan, secretary in the department of biotechnology, and Hemang Jani, officer of special duty in PMO.
According to a person who has been closely involved with the dialogues, the government entered a “confused” phase where it was struggling with the definition of a startup and what needed to be done for the ecosystem. “There was a pivotal meeting led by Kant, where some of the champions of the industry hammered the idea that the government needs to get its act together soon … To the credit of Kant, he understood the urgency,” said the source, who requested anonymity.
The next major meeting was chaired by Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to Modi, in November.
It was attended by all top secretaries of the government, the leading industry associations and six leading startups. From the initial wish list of 120 items, the list has been trimmed to 34 items, out of which 40% have already been acted upon and the rest are being processed, this source said.