Boosting Entrepreneurs – Innovating for India, from India: PM to start-ups

Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed on Saturday to free entrepreneurship from the complex maze of bureaucracy, as he urged start-ups to “innovate for India and innovate from India”.

Addressing more than 150 aspiring entrepreneurs via video conference, Modi said January 16 would be celebrated annually as National Startup Day “to bring start-up culture to remote parts of the country.”

He highlighted three key aspects of his government’s efforts to further strengthen the start-up ecosystem: first, freeing entrepreneurship and innovation from bureaucratic silos; second, to create an institutional mechanism to promote innovation; and third, to hold young innovators.

A record 42 start-ups turned into unicorns in 2021 alone, he said, hinting at limitless possibilities ahead of next-gen entrepreneurs. Around 61,000 start-ups have already registered with the government, just six years after Start-Up India was launched in January 2016.

“Our start-ups are changing the rules of the game. I believe start-ups are going to be the backbone of New India,” said Modi, acknowledging the role these budding entrepreneurs play not only in driving innovation in all sectors, but also to create jobs and reduce gender disparities. “Don’t just keep your dreams local, make them global. Remember this mantra,” he told start-ups.

At the same time, the Prime Minister also highlighted the battery of measures initiated by the government to facilitate the development of start-ups. The government introduced programs such as Start-up India and Stand-up India, tackled the problem of so-called “welfare tax”, offered tax incentives and simplified procedures, extended funding official, authorized the self-certification process for nine workers and three environmental laws and eliminated more than 25,000 procedures to reduce the compliance burden on start-ups. The government e-Marketplace platform also promotes the services provided by start-ups to various ministries and departments. The Defense Force has placed orders worth Rs 500 crore with drone start-ups.

Highlighting his government’s seriousness in promoting innovation in recent years, the prime minister said 28,000 patents had been granted in the last financial year, compared to just 4,000 in 2013-2014.

As many as 2.5 lakh trademarks were registered in 2020-21, compared to just 70,000 in 2013-14. Similarly, the number of copyrights granted by the government in the last fiscal year was 16,000, four times the level of 2013-2014.

It is important to note that India’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index fell from 81st to 46th in 2015.

Annual funding for start-ups has increased from $11 billion to $36 billion, Anurag Jain, secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), said at the same event. He said the share of investment coming from start-ups in India from all over the world, which also includes domestic investment, increased to 6% from 4% previously.

Speaking at the online event, Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal urged startups to come up with more suggestions to simplify the regulatory burden and make it easier to promote the startup story . “Many of our entrepreneurs can become mentors for budding startups. We can consider establishing ‘Startup Access Centers’ in all districts,” he added.

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