Startup India, Standup India: Driving Indian Youth from Job Seekers to Job Creators

The ‘Startup India, Standup India’ programme is different from the other Modi government initiatives. Weighing the successes or failures of ‘Startup India, Standup India’ in a short period of three years is not practical. This initiative will take its own time to yield some meaningful tangible outcomes. But the change which this initiative is bringing in the environment is quite visible! For the first time, since independence, we are witnessing an atmosphere in the country, where people are discussing the things like entrepreneurship, innovation, new ventures and startups for the youths. During the four years of Modi government, the concepts like Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Village Level Entrepreneur, Atal Innovation Mission, Tinkering labs, Smart India Hackathon, MANAK Scheme (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) and NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations) etc. have been introduced in the country.

On 15th August 2015 from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his vision of ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’ with the country. A few months later on 16th January 2016, PM Modi launched the Startup India Action Plan. Some of the key policy-based decisions included in the Startup India Action Plan which have helped in the grooming of startup ecosystem are: tax exemption for startups for 3 years, provision of self certification for environmental compliance for white category startups, no inspection of labour laws compliance for three years, discount on patent fee and provision for fast-tracking the process of patent examination, tax exemption on capital gains, relaxation in the norms of public procurement for manufacturing startups, faster exit for startups through Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill 2015, tax exemption for investments above fair market value, a dedicated Rs.10000 crore ‘Fund of Funds’ and the credit guarantee for Startups etc.

In India, some of the key pain areas for the startups were time and cost involved in the patent filing process, to address this concern through the scheme for ‘Startups Intellectual Property Protection’ government has given up to 80% of rebate in fees combined with free legal assistance, for aspirant entrepreneurs it is a really big relief! Apart from this the Trademark Rules, 2017 have also been amended to provide 50% rebate in fees for Startups.

The government is promoting the Startup Culture in the country through different creative events and mechanism such as Atal Innovation Mission, Startup India Hub, Startup Fest, mobile app and portal for startup registration, Annual Incubator Grand Challenge, by setting up innovation and entrepreneurship centers at National Institutes and building new Research Parks across the country. To promote a culture of innovation and healthy competition which brings out the best talent of the youths a number of competitive events like Atal New India Challenge, Smart India Hackathon, and Agriculture Grand Challenge etc. have been organized by the government along with the different innovative programmes for the school going students too.

In India, where securing highest marks in the 10th or 12th Boards and Medical/Engineering entrance exams is a matter of national celebration and glory, in such an environment encouraging the youths to take risks, to fail often, to show courage to pursue your dream and to build something of your own, was deemed impossible. But in just one go, PM Modi has surpassed this whole mindset. PM Modi had outlined a broad vision of fostering an innovation culture in the country, in which the urban and rural youths, have equal opportunities for growth.

On 6th June 2018, after over three years of ‘Startup India, Standup India’ launch, during PM Modi’s interaction with the young entrepreneurs from across the country, we have heard several success stories on how the different initiatives i.e. ease of filing patents/trademarks (fast track and up to 80% rebate), reforms in labour and environmental laws, Startups linking with Government e-Market Place (GEM) and income tax exemptions for three years etc. have helped these young innovators in shaping their dreams! No data chart or table can better evaluate the success of ‘Startup India, Standup India’ programme than its beneficiaries themselves sharing their real-life experiences related to the change in the system.

As a part of ‘Startup India’ drive, the government has amended the definition of the startups, the scope had been broadened to include scalable business models which have a potential to generate employment or wealth creation. The recognition process of startups has been simplified and as of June 2018, 10029 startups have been recognized by DIPP. Through Startup India hub, which was launched on 1st April 2016, more than 77000 queries of startups have been resolved through telephone, emails, and Twitter. Last year, the hub went online, in which as of now 1, 70, 993 users have enrolled for the learning and development module and 1, 66, 981 users have registered for seeking mentoring and incubation support. Other than Central government’s initiatives, different states i.e. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, Haryana, Assam, and Punjab have formulated their own Startup Policies too.

In ‘Startup India, Standup India’ there is a focus on the aspirant entrepreneurs of the rural and remote areas too. Under ‘Standup India’ vision the government is providing funding and incubation support to the semi-urban and rural youths. Three years back launched Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) and Standup India Schemes are setting new records! The Mudra Yojana was launched on 8th April 2015 to provide loans of up to Rs. 10 lakh to small and micro enterprises and Standup India facilitates the bank loans of Rs. 10 lakh to 1 crore for Schedule Castes/Schedule Tribes or Women Entrepreneurs.

As of now under PMMY, banks and financial institutions have disbursed loans of approx Rs 6 lakh crore to over 12 crore beneficiaries and interestingly the biggest beneficiaries of this scheme, around 74% or 9 crore borrowers are women entrepreneurs. The Mudra Yojana has given a push to the MSME sector of the country. Whether its Uttar Pradesh government’s ‘One District, One Product’ scheme or the concept of ‘Village Level Entrepreneur’ for running Common Service Centre of the government, the government is offering enormous avenues of growth to the young entrepreneurs from every section of the society.

PM Modi has not only provided the policy/institution level support to the youths but on each occasion, he encourages young India to leverage their innovative skills for the growth of the country and to participate in Transforming India. Different ministries and departments of the central government are providing the desired space to Indian startups in their supply chains. A number of startups are actively collaborating with the Central and State Governments in their different initiatives.

One of the most sensitive ministries of the government, the Defense Ministry is encouraging the young Indian startups to participate in the Indian Army’s Modernization and Defense Indigenization drive. The MoD has taken a number of steps to encourage the participation of Startups/MSMEs in the Defense sector. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and MoD have launched a platform called “Society for Indian Defense Start-ups,” an institutional-support mechanism for development and funding of defence startups. In this year’s DefExpo a good number of events were organized to encourage the startups/MSMEs participation in the defence supply chain. On the sidelines of the DefExpo, the Defense ministry was running a hackathon to invite fresh ideas from startups and students with a proper framework of injecting the selected ideas into the system.

Three years back, in his 2015 Independence Day Speech PM Modi has said: “There should not be any district, any block in Hindustan where there are not start-up initiated in the coming days” and after sharing his ‘Startup India, Standup India’ vision with the country he said “you will find that within no time, India would see a network of startup, new entrepreneurs would emerge and they would in-turn provide employment ranging from one to two to four persons which will transform India’s economic life.” Today we can see that his words are turning into a reality.

India is a young country; around 65% of our population is under 35 and 50% of the population is below 25 years of age. Due to a long time involvement in the service sector, a majority of our youths had developed a ‘rent seeker’ attitude. Driving them from ‘Job Seeker’ attitude to ‘Job Creator’ is a challenge and ‘Startup India, Stand up India’ programme is dealing with this challenge effectively! There is a need to infuse this spirit in our youths that it’s not the money in their pockets but ideas in their heads that matters!

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