Start-up India: NDA’s targeting of youth aspirations

Modi had announced the Start-up India Stand up India initiative from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August last year. Photo: AFP

Modi had announced the Start-up India Stand up India initiative from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August last year. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the government’s Start-up India scheme and unveil an action plan on Saturday in yet another initiative to provide support to entrepreneurs.

The scheme, which will offer incentives to entrepreneurs to start ventures in India, is among the many steps taken by the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government to find employment opportunities for India’s youth, who played a key- role in the alliance coming to power in 2014.

Modi had announced the Start-up India Stand up India initiative from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August last year.

The government also launched the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Bank Loan Scheme last year to finance small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Besides, it launched the Skill India mission, aimed at training a labour force of over 400 million by 2022.

It followed these up with a credit guarantee fund for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe and women entrepreneurs this year as well as for those availing of loans under the government’s flagship Mudra scheme.

While the response to the Mudra scheme has been good, fearing potential defaults, the government had to set up a credit guarantee fund to encourage banks to lend to these entrepreneurs without fearing potential bad debts.

Analysts said this is a problem that is likely to persist as there is a need to change the mindset of lenders who do not consider start-up entrepreneurs to be good borrowers.

They also pointed out that implementation at the ground level will be the key for the success of the initiatives and to ensure that the aspirations of the country’s relatively young population are met.

S.L. Rao, Bengaluru-based sociologist and former director general of the National Council for Applied Economic Research, said, “The Prime Minister is the best salesperson India has ever had. He is a marketing genius. But my worry for all these schemes is if it is more talk and less action.”

“The start-up scheme is aimed at the ambitious and more informed general public and hence may see a good response. However, for schemes aimed at funding small entrepreneurs like craftsmen, there needs to be an entire ecosystem that needs to be built,” he said.

[“source-Livemint”]