Startup India Initiative: Stringent Eligibility Norms

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Akanksha Shrivastava, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Startup India Initiative launched by the government last year which intended to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country leading to sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. Under this initiative, a startup can do self-registration through a mobile app, get exempted from environment and labour laws inspections, get their patents examined fast at 80% reduction in the patent registration fee, also the most attractive benefit is getting income tax exemption for 3 years. Another added advantage of having tax breaks is that it increases the attractiveness of a company for investors.

For a startup to avail these benefits it has to fulfill eligibility criteria such as being a private limited partnership or firm, and should not be more than 5 years of age with turnover not exceeding Rs. 25 Crore. Startups have to qualify as innovative for which they have to furnish letters of recommendation from government-approved startup incubators or furnish patents granted by the Indian Patent and Trademark Office. Therefore a startup with an undifferentiated product or service or one that is not a significant improvement over existing ones in the market will not qualify.

According to research firm Tracxn, only 522 out of about 1425 companies that sought certification under Startup India Initiative have been approved. Most of the rejections were because the companies were unable to secure certifications declaring them to be innovative businesses. Some companies are not able to find the incubator that specialises in the technology they are working in to get the certification. Such issues should be addressed immediately by the government and it should work towards making eligibility criteria more flexible without compromising on the authenticity as the sole motive of this initiative is to help in fostering the growth of startups and allowing them to focus on their core business without worrying about regulatory burden.

 

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