Innovation and entrepreneurship are cornerstones of sustained economic growth. The Government has done well to recognise this by launching the Startup India Action Plan. The event was an unprecedented and resounding success. The energy in entrepreneurs, leaders of unicorns, seasoned investors, Government officials, etc was intense and, for most part, contagious. No doubt the Startup India Action Plan has provided various important exemptions and incentives to startups. However, the key question is this – Whether the Action Plan adequately addresses the irritants that make the Indian startup ecosystem unattractive? In our view, the answer is no.
iSPIRT has been closely associated with the Government in this endeavour, and had put together a list of thirty four key irritants that need to be resolved to arrest the exodus of Indian startups. The list is called the Stay-in-India Checklist. Of the thirty four issues, ten each came under the Revenue Department and the RBI, nine came under the MCA, and the remaining came under multiple departments such as the DEA, DIPP, RBI, MCA, and SEBI. Based on our analysis of the Action Plan and other announcements made, the present status looks like the following:
As noted above, only one RBI issue has been resolved so far (that too by way of a clarification during our discussion prior to the Startup India event). There was no announcement on any other RBI issues as part of the Action Plan. For creating a vibrant startup ecosystem, it is imperative that the investments from foreign sources are made easier. While the RBI, MCA, and other authorities had assured us that action will be taken on most of these issues (see the orange category above) once the definition of ‘startup’ is released, so far, there is no clarity as to when such action will be taken.
We will internally continue to interact on the outstanding (orange and red) items with the RBI, MCA, Revenue, and other departments. We hope that these issues will also be resolved by the relevant authorities soon.