What media didn’t report on Start-Up India

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Ashish Agrawal

The Startup India took a great start with enormous fanfare on Saturday. Over 1 Lakh tweets were posted in response to this unique initiative and the campaign elicited great response from the internet based entrepreneurs.

But here are some points you ought to know that Indian media did not report.

Indeed, the Start Up India is a good scheme as it aims to reduce the paperwork as compared to previous similar schemes.

The most attractive point of this scheme is 3 years tax exemption for the companies, who satisfy the conditions.

Usually companies are required to pay 30% flat tax on their incomes and it’s one of the major reasons why they get dissolved in initial years.

But as it seems from the announcement, you could register your start-up with just one click from the mobile application. In the real world, this is practically not possible.

Because, for that, you first need to satisfy the definitions and eligibility criterion.

According to definition provided by the government, ‘start-up means an entity, incorporated or registered in India not prior to five years, with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 25 crore in any preceding financial year, working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property.’

So it can be interpreted as following;

  • First you need to be an entity which is incorporated or registered in India in the last five years
  • Secondly, your turnover could not exceed Rs 25 crore. (Do notice that government is talking about turnover and not income. If you have 26 crore rupees sales and 27 crore expenses, sorry to say you’re not qualified.
  • Works have been defined by government – I take it as a positive point of the draft as it would help to identify the true entities, who are likely to help the government in escalating the efforts towards a better India.

That’s all?  NO, It’s just a start. By now you may have started raising your hopes that you are a potential candidate to benefit from this scheme. Well, wait!

This is what the govternment’s paper reads;

What the texts above mean that if you’re not an angel funded or a government of India funded company, the easiest way to get a certification is to pitch an incubator established in a post-graduate college in India or incubator recognized by government of India.

An incubator is generally an organisation outlined to quicken the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections.

Currently, Startup Village, Technopark TBI, Villgro, TBI, BITS Pilani are among the popular names of the incubator recognised by the Indian government.

It clearly shows that the budding entrepreneurs now have to live at the mercy of these incubators to be considered potential candidates to qualify for government of India’s scheme. It leaves them vulnerable for manipulation and opens up new scopes for corruption. The government has not specified what measures it has taken to ensure that start-ups don’t die premature deaths because of potential threats of manipulation by these incubators.

As an alternative to acquiring recommendations from these incubators, the government has also proposed that it will consider start-ups having obtained patent right for their products as eligible for the benefits.

But, anybody, who knows the bureaucracy attached to the process of obtaining the patent in India, will tell you it’s going to be a huge challenge.

The good thing is that Narendra Modi has promised legal support and fast-tracking of patent examination at lower costs. It would be interesting to see what would be the real output for the needy start-ups. If government fails to provide these things without red tapism then no chances of making out any success.

Government of India needs to be very active towards this scheme as it’s the backbone for any start-ups and counseling sessions are needed to be increased in order to make it easier for the beneficiaries.

But at the same time, government has to be aware that faster exit for start-ups could easily result in many tax-related scams.

The author of this blog is a budding chartered accountant and owner of a digital start-up


  1. There is a fundamental flaw to the entire proposal and that is the backbone which is our education system. Below are some of the flaws:
    1. Poor research infrastructure in the country. Very poor.
    2. Current trend in startups is based on e-commerce, which is not a sustainable business model.
    3. Close tie up between industry and universities, needed for these incubators to work.
    4. What if it fails? Bankruptcy laws?
    5. Apart from e-commerce what else?
    6. How do create a self-inclusive growth model within India for such startups to thrive?
    7. Outdated curriculum in most of the universities, resulting in poor quality of graduates
    8. What steps taken to improve more students pursuing PHD within country?
    I can keep gooing on this, but without the basic foundations, this will remain a “buzzword”.

      • Forget offline systems of the government, why don’t you first try try something as simple as booking a tatkal ticket online and then tell us how optimistic you feel about the government?

  2. Very rightly said Pankaj Mistry. We all want this to work But unfortunately in India start up means creating an website/app and hiring delivery boys for delivering from clothes, shoes, medicines to chicken rolls. Startups are mere a money eating or money printing company and not innovative. Rather we want gov to encourage, invest and boost science research programs all across country without looking at the benefits. That will thrive.

  3. What Govt needs to do is to relax rules of procurement – current Software procurement rules of Govt are so stringent that only the top tier companies are able to bid..how will small to medium IT/Software players/startups succeed if Govt itself will never buy from them! Another area Govt must invest in is to help create a Google and Facebook homegrown alternative – no VC/Angel fund will do that – it will take Govt backing and partnership –


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