A year after setting up the National Startup Advisory Council involving non-official members to promote the startup ecosystem in the country, the Commerce Ministry has finally nominated the names of its members. The council will have 28 non-official members including Byju’s Byju Raveendran, Abhiraj Bhal from Urban Company, Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl, Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal, Sanjeev Bikhchandani from Info Edge India, SoftBank India’s Manoj Kohli, Sequoia Capital India’s Rajan Anandan, Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh, CII President Uday Kotak, and other representatives from multiple startups and investment firms, IIT Kanpur, IIM Ahmedabad, iSPIRT and more. Importantly, the development comes ahead of the union budget as the startup ecosystem seeks relaxations around Angel Tax and digital lending.
The term of these non-official members at the council will be for two years or until a specific period is notified by the government, whichever is earlier. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had constituted the council on January 21, 2020, to suggest the government various steps required “to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities,” the ministry said in a statement.
Among the key areas for the council to suggest measures on included fostering innovation culture among citizens and students and promoting it across sectors including semi-urban and rural areas, supporting creative ideas through incubation and research and development to help them grow into valuable products, facilitating public organizations to assimilate innovation with a view to improving public service delivery, promoting the creation, protection, and commercialization of intellectual property rights; reducing regulatory norms and costs to start, operate, grow and exit businesses, promoting ease of access to capital for startups and incentivizing domestic capital for investments, ensuring control of startups with its founders and more.
The Modi government over the past few years has announced multiple steps to boost local startups. Startup India has been its biggest initiative to encourage young businesses to register with the government and enjoy benefits including self-compliance under three environmental and six labour laws, exemption from paying income tax for three consecutive years along with exemption on capital gains and investments above fair market value. The benefits also included up to 80 per cent rebate in filing patents and winding up within 90 days under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. To boost early-stage startup funding, PM Modi had recently announced a seed fund worth Rs 1,000 crore and also launched a dedicated television show Startup Champions to showcase “innovations of the young and brilliant innovators and entrepreneurs of India,” PM Modi had said in his address at the BIMSTEC summit last week.