On February 03, 2017, BW Businessworld and NewsX brought alive various insightful Roundtables analyzing India's Post-Budget 2017. Amongst a number of diverse sessions focusing on different industries, there was a key session focused on 'Startups.'
The panelists for the Startups session were: Anuj Garg, Co-Founder & CEO, Inscripts India Private Limited ('Inscripts India'); Paras Berawal, Director, Transaction Advisory Services; and Aninda Pal, Partner, HSA Advocates, which is a full service law firm. All three panelists have deep experience within the Indian startups fraternity.
Established in 2009, Inscripts India, an R&D tech-start-up has over a 100 employees and its flagship product CometChat is presently marketed in 130 countries. Having begun his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 16, Anuj was pleased when Deloitte India ranked Inscripts India as one of the 20 fastest growing technology companies in 2012. Anuj also made it on to the cover of BW Businessworld Magazine a couple of years ago and he was labeled as one of India's top entrepreneurs. His key message is that entrepreneurs need to innovate in order to stay alive. Incidentally, Anuj has a pillow by his bedside, which says, 'Innovate or Die.'
Listed below are the key-takeouts of the Indian Startups Roundtable discussions:
1. The time period for claiming a tax holiday has been extended to any 3 consecutive years out of 7 years (from the date of incorporation), which is a very positive step. Previously, it stood at 3 years out of 5 years.
2. Demonetization has resulted in boosting the usage of digital payments and this will result in helping fintech startups. However, in order to ensure that such progress happens, the Government could ensure far better digital connectivity and it could also focus on building a more robust infrastructure around the Digital India movement.
a. DigitalGaon is a great initiative to provide telemedicine, skill development, and education through technology
b. The Government could also build startup-hubs around key cities and towns across India
3. FIPB will be phased out in FY 2017-18, coupled with further liberalization of the FDI Policy, which will have a positive impact
4. The Government could consider providing for alternative sources of funding for entrepreneurs, such as soft loans
5. Very concerning that Indian Software as a Services (SAAS) companies are not currently permitted to collect monthly payments in India. However, among other international companies, Apple Music and NETFLIX are permitted to do so!
6. While the Government, is clearly focused on promoting entrepreneurship, there could be additional measures on ease of business in India. There could be a single window clearance for startups and the Central Government and all the State Governments could work in sync in order to provide complete clarity on its 'collective voice' on compliance, regulatory etc.
7. The ease of 'listing of startups' is a critical initiative that will permit entrepreneurs to achieve further scale.
Overall, the Panelists were quite impressed with the Government's initiatives and believe there will be more reforms coming through, which will certainly positively impact entrepreneurship in India.