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Giving another dimension to India’s ambitious journey to propel entrepreneurial journey, an expert advisory committee will be constituted by the Commerce and Industry Ministry for the overall execution and monitoring of the Rs 1,000 crore Startup India Seed Fund scheme, according to a notification.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scheme this month to support startups and help budding entrepreneurs pursue innovative ideas. The initiative is viewed as a larger game plan to infuse confidence among entrepreneurs to be part of PM’s ambitious Atmanirbharath Bharat.

According to a circular issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Commerce and Industry Ministry, the committee will evaluate and select incubators for allotment of seed funds, monitor progress, and take all necessary measures for efficient utilisation of funds towards the fulfilment of objectives of the scheme.

DPIIT also stipulate that the committee members would include representatives from DPIIT; departments of biotechnology, science and technology; Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology; Indian Council of Agricultural Research; Niti Aayog; and at least three experts nominated by DPIIT Secretary.

As per the Startup India Seed Fund scheme, the government will provide financial assistance to startups through a corpus of Rs 945 crore that will be disbursed through selected incubators across India in 2021-25. To avail the benefits of the scheme the startup should have been recognised by DPIIT and incorporated not more than two years ago at the time of application, it should also be using technology in its core product or service.

In addition to that, the startup should not have received more than Rs 10 lakh of monetary support under any other central or state government scheme, and shareholding by Indian promoters in the startup should be at least 51% at the time of application to the incubator for the scheme.

The scheme also gives preference to startups creating innovative solutions in sectors such as social impact, waste management, water management, financial inclusion, education, agriculture, food processing, biotechnology, healthcare, energy, mobility, defence, space, railways, oil and gas, textiles, etc, it said.

Similarly, the DPIIT circular states that incubator must be a legal entity; it should be operational for at least two years on the date of application to the scheme; must have at least 5 startups undergoing incubation physically on the date of application; and should not be disbursing seed fund to incubatees using funding from any third-party private entity.

Further, it said each of the incubators applying for the scheme will constitute a committee called the Incubator Seed Management Committee, consisting of experts who can evaluate and select startups for seed support. The DPIIT would evaluate the outcome of the scheme by the end of 2024-25, especially with reference to financial, social and economic returns.

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