The BJP in its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections has promised to launch a new scheme for entrepreneurs to provide collateral-free credit up to Rs 50 lakh and promote startups through the creation of a ‘Seed Startup Fund’ with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore. It also aims to establish 50,000 new startups in the country by 2024.
BJP has promised that it will ease regulatory requirement for startups and reduce tax compliance burdens for startups by reducing time spent on tax compliance to one hour per month.
Out of the collateral-free credit up to Rs 50 lakh that it has promised, BJP guarantees that 50% of the loan amount will be for female entrepreneurs and 25% for male entrepreneurs.
BJP claims in its manifesto that over 17 crore entrepreneurs have availed loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. It plans to expand this initiative and reach up to 30 crore beneficiaries.
It has also announced that it will create 100 ‘Innovation Zones’ in Urban Local Bodies and will also set up 500 new incubators and accelerators by 2024.
Taking its Startup India initiative forward with inclusivity, BJP said in its manifesto, “We will support entrepreneurial ventures started by individuals from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Communities, or Economically Weaker Sections and take forward the ‘Standup India’ initiative.”
It also aims to set up a new 'Entrepreneurial Northeast' scheme to provide financial support to the micro, small and medium industries and for employment generation in the North-eastern states.
In a bid to improve engagement of the government and its departments with the startup ecosystem, BJP says that it will begin ranking central ministries, departments, state governments and CPSUs (central public sector units) based on their engagement with startups and in bringing innovation, newer technologies and global practices and skills into the departments.
However, the manifesto does not address Angel Tax, a major issue that has been plaguing the startup ecosystem in India. Congress President Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, has promised startups that there will be zero permission for the first three years for all new businesses and that Angel Tax will be abolished.
Make in India
The manifesto spells out that it has launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign with the aim of developing India into a knowledge based and technology driven society.
Taking this forward, BJP proposes to take India’s Ease of Doing Business Index ranking into the top 50.
In order to incentivise compliance of law and ease of doing business, it proposes to amend the Companies Act to impose civil liability for technical and procedural defaults of a minor nature thus unclogging the majority of the cases from the courts.
It has also promised to announce a new industrial policy to improve competitiveness of manufacturing and services with an eye on Industry 4.0 in order to gear up for technologies like artificial intelligence. Special effort will be made for MSMEs.
Recognising that technology access and upgradation are key elements in the MSME sector, BJP says it will expand its ‘Technology Centres’ and set up more than 150 such centres all over the country by 2024. “These Technology Centres would help in mentoring skilling and prototyping of MSMEs. They will expose MSMEs to Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, Blockchain Technology. The Technology Centres, other skilling centres of MSMEs and NSICs incubation centres alone would provide focussed and high-level skilling to more than 6 lakh people per year,” the manifesto states.
BJP has also promised to establish National Traders’ Welfare Board and create a National Policy for Retail Trade for the growth of retail businesses.
“To protect the interests of small traders, we will provide an accident insurance of Rs 10 lakh to all the traders registered under GST,” it has said in the manifesto.