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Updated: July 5, 2014 10:02 IST

Young techies downcast over clumsy formalities

    M. P. Praveen
    G. Krishnakumar
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Varsities reluctant to relaxing attendance norms and dolling out grace marks to promote entrepreneurs

The State government’s much vaunted Student Entrepreneurship Scheme dolling out twin carrots of relaxation in attendance and grace marks to promote young campus entrepreneurs seems to have ended up a damp squib going by the number of beneficiaries.

Of the 400-odd students involved in about 250 campus start-ups across the State, only less than 20 have availed of the benefits under the scheme rolled out in October 2012.

These fortunate ones were from Startup Village in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram Technopark Technology Business Incubator (T-TBI) whereas the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, is yet to introduce the scheme in their TBI.

The scheme, the highlights of which were 20 per cent relaxation in attendance and 4 per cent grace marks, seems to have run into apathy on the part of universities, which are yet to incorporate it into their statute.

The Higher Education Department felt compelled to intervene by issuing an order last September, hardly a year after the government notified its flagship scheme, to correct the anomaly.

The order admitted that “since the universities have not incorporated the scheme in their Regulations,” student entrepreneurs were finding it difficult to avail of the twin benefits.

P.H. Kurian, Principal IT Secretary, downplayed the low number of takers for the scheme stating that it could be misleading. “We are yet to come across complaints. Besides, not all start-ups are run by students, as there may be fresh graduates as well,” he said.

However, sources associated with the promotion of campus entrepreneurs told The Hindu that the number of beneficiaries would have exceeded 200 had the scheme been more student-friendly. “An online system to avail of the scheme would have facilitated more takers, as students cannot be expected to waste their invaluable time over formalities,” he said.

K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair, the managing director, Technopark-TBI, has a suggestion to improve the number of beneficiaries.

“Campus entrepreneurships need to take off early for the students to benefit from the scheme. What happens is that student entrepreneurs apply for the scheme in their final year and by the time the approval comes they would have passed out,” he said.

But this argument flies in the face of the fact that of the 400-odd student entrepreneurs, at least 25 per cent are in their first or second years.

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