Budget 2019: Startup TV Channel interesting but aspiring entrepreneurs may not watch for inspiration, says expert

Financial Express, July 12, 2019

Union Budget 2019 India: Among many sops announced by the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden budget speech for startups — a television channel was probably the least expected yet most interesting. However, not many people looking to become an entrepreneur may watch it to seek inspiration, according to the Jaipur-based think-tank CUTS International.

“This is an interesting initiative. Startups can bring a lot of innovation to help their community and make TV watching engaging. However, it is true that aspiring entrepreneurs may not turn to TV for inspiration,” Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International told Financial Express Online.

Easier compliance, digital technology adoption, digital payments adoption, incentivising small retailers etc., are some of the measures taken into consideration in the budget to boost SME and startups. While these are good steps but in no way sufficient, said Mehta even as comprehensive competition and regulatory reforms are needed to boost the two sectors.

“Several fine print regulations inhibit small players across sectors (including digital payments) to achieve their potential including eligibility criteria to start a business, onerous compliances for operating, and uncertainty and delays in an exit. A regulatory impact assessment to identify and overhaul policy and regulatory framework is need of the hour,” added Mehta.

The budget recognised SMEs and startups for economic growth through specific measures such as interest subvention scheme for GST-registered MSMEs, extension of pension benefit to retail traders and small shopkeepers under Pradhan Mantri Karam Yogi Mandaan Scheme, relaxation of conditions to carry forward and set off the losses focus on electric vehicles and digital payments sectors, etc. apart from respite in angel tax.

“It needs to be ensured that the proposed e-verification mechanism does not delays fundraising efforts of start-ups. Also, the proposed special administrative arrangement should not unnecessarily add another bureaucratic layer to and complicate the interaction between government and startup community,” Mehta said.

Nonetheless, given the strong leadership, one has higher expectations from this government on ensuring execution that the past ones, he added.

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