Kick-starting its ambitious Start-Up Mission, the government on Saturday promised to prioritise such measures for greater employment generation and said it was committed to ensuring start-ups a friendlier regulatory regime, easier capital availability as well as quicker exit norms through a bankruptcy law.
Pointing out that entrepreneurship was no longer being looked down upon in India in the name of 'jugaad' (frugal or flexible innovation), Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government now looks forward to engaging with entrepreneurs to remove "all the burdensome regulations for start-ups."
Speaking at the inaugural session of the Start-Up India programme at the jam-packed Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, she also referred to the government's efforts to bring into force a bankruptcy law among other measures aimed at greater ease of doing business in the country.
The government had introduced the Bankruptcy Bill in Parliament in the recently concluded winter session but could not ensure its passage.
A simple and effective corporate insolvency law is important for expediting the winding up of a company, sale of their assets and also for revival of sick companies. Easier entry and exit norms are important from the point of view of a start-ups too as there is a likelihood of a good number of them failing. Investors have often criticised the delays involved in the insolvency proceedings in India and the consequent fall in the company's asset value.
On the importance of providing support to entrepreneurs, Ms. itharaman said the number of youth seeking government jobs has come down, while the number of them looking to start their own ventures has gone up.
The Minister also said the government has set up a fund-of-funds to help start-ups. She said the government would not impose anything from its side on the start-ups through conditions but only act as a facilitator. The government had in August last year set up an India Aspiration Fund as a fund-of-funds to increase the capital availability for start-ups.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Amitabh Kant said employment generation was the government's top-most priority, adding that the start-up mission was an important step in this regard. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Silicon Valley in the US last year to interact with the entrepreneurs there has paid off as it has created several links between Indian and American entrepreneurs.
Pointing out that one million people enter the labour force in India every month, World Bank Country Director for India Onno Ruhl said the challenge was to create jobs for them. He said the World Bank was keen to work with the government in ensuring that the Start Up Mission is a success, adding, however, that it was important to make sure that the country grows through innovation in the area of frugal engineering using less energy, less water and keeping the air clean.
Deep Kalra, founder of the online travel company MakeMyTrip said in a lighter vein that earlier people called those founding a 'start-up' as 'messed up' thinking that they opted for it since they could not get any jobs or were thrown out of jobs. But with the times changing, people now have respect for start-ups and entrepreneurs and the value they create, he added.