Industry

Start Up India schemes to finally take off

The funds deployment were cleared after 10 months of spadework.

The government can finally start deploying funds from the Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) scheme and the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) announced in the Union Budget for 2015-16 to promote startups and scientific research, after over ten months of spadework.

While the AIM would focus on inviting aspiring entrepreneurs to solve India’s contemporary socio-economic problems via ‘grand challenges’ that offer substantial awards to incubate and scale up winning ideas, the SETU scheme’s resources would be devoted to strengthening incubators and setting up ‘tinkering labs’ where ideas can be shaped into prototypes before they are ripe for funding.

An overarching supervisory body with about ten members is being formed to oversee the allocation of funds under the schemes to line ministries. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 1,000 crore to the SETU scheme and Rs 150 crore for AIM.

Likely to be chaired by Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya, the panel would include secretaries from the departments of science and technology, biotechnology, industrial policy and promotion as well as the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises.

Professor Tarun Khanna, director of the South Asia Institute at Harvard University, is also likely to be part of the panel as an external expert. He was earlier appointed by the Aayog as chairperson of an expert panel on innovation and entrepreneurship, that was also asked to advise on the ‘detailed contours’ of AIM and SETU.

A senior government official told The Hindu that the Niti Aayog, entrusted with executing the two programs, has worked out the broad modalities at a meeting between top officials from the Aayog and line ministries last Friday.

“The pace of rolling out these schemes has been slow and ideally, we should have disbursed some funds from them by now. We hope to allocate funds for some projects before March,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Half of the funds under SETU would be earmarked for strengthening existing incubators in the country, backed by different departments, so that the support mechanism for budding entrepreneurs is more robust.

“The rest, Rs 500 crore, would be used for setting up tinkering labs, where students can literally potter about and create prototypes and models of their ideas with the ability to demonstrate basic functions,” the official said, adding a similar lab already exists at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur.

The idea of posing social problems as a ‘grand challenge’ for aspiring startups under the AIM, is to engage young graduates eyeing the startup space into thinking beyond the internet, e-commerce and mobile applications space.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 3:37:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/Start-Up-India-schemes-to-finally-take-off/article13995971.ece

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