Tech firms to woo new govt for boosting start-ups, help ease of business

In the last five years, the government had focused on schemes like Digital India and digital payments
Promoting start-ups and ease of doing business top industry leaders’ wish list to the Narendra Modi-led government during its second term, even as the technology industry cheered the NDA’s continuity at the Centre. 

This, they felt, will pave the way for faster implementation of existing proposals and schemes.

Supporting the continuity in the government, Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy said, “There are lots of things that are still work in progress like Startup India, Swachh Bharat and Make in India. These are all great initiatives of the first term and they now need to be accelerated. The goverment must work towards removing obstacles in these initiatives. We need to encourage entrepreneurs even more and we need to provide funding to them. In other words, domestic funds must be available for venture capitalists,” he said. 

“Congratulations to Prime Minister @narendramodi and team @BJP4India for a truly historic win. #StartupIndia looks forward to your continued support for innovation and entrepreneurship in India,” said Google’s ex-India head Rajan Anandan, in a tweet on Friday.  

Some industry leaders said India remains the world’s second largest start-up nation and clearly the government has had the right intent to boost start-ups in the country to foster innovation and job creation. 

While measures have been taken to provide relaxation from angel tax, “there are still some unfulfilled expectations linked to its simplification when looked at from a long-term lens,” said Ankur Pahwa, partner and national leader,  e-commerce and consumer internet, EY India. 

He said more attention is needed to protect entrepreneurs, at the same time enabling promoters and investors to raise capital through differential voting rights. 

“While the government has made considerable and commendable headway in its ease of doing business, further steps linked to easing of norms will fuel the start-up ecosystem,” he added.

In the last five years, the government had shown a strong focus on schemes like Digital India and digital payments, which have taken off in a big way. 

This was helped by the rise of private financial technology companies as well as the government endorsing the unified payments interface. 

“This must progress with a fresh commitment to democratise digital payments,” said Harshil Mathur, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder, Razorpay. He said the impact of goods and services tax (GST) should bring more people into the tax bracket. “One reform that I am expecting is tax and GST benefit for businesses opting for digital transactions. We were looking forward for this to happen last year. Hopefully, the government will do it this year,” said Mathur. 

The NDA government, in its previous term, had introduced several initiatives to bridge the gap between supply and demand of talent. It rolled out the Skill India initiative in 2015 to train about 400 million people by 2022. 

“We can expect the Skill India initiative to be taken to a new level. With the need and demand for digital skilling being high, we want the government to encourage a public-private partnership model with ed-tech companies at the national and state levels. This should be with a larger agenda of making Indian IT workforce skill and job-ready,” said Krishna Kumar, CEO and founder of Simplilearn, an ed-tech company.

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