Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced the launch of his government’s ambitious start-up policy, under which start-ups will get collateral-free loans and other benefits.
The Delhi Cabinet on Thursday approved the implementation of the Delhi Start-up Policy. During an online briefing, Kejriwal announced that entrepreneurship classes and a ‘Business Blasters’ programme will be introduced at college-levels after their grand success in schools. He said the government will help start-ups get collateral-free loans which will be interest-free for a year. The chief minister also said CAs, lawyers and experts will be empanelled to aid the start-ups for free, and their service charges will be borne by the government.
“We will ease out procurement norms to help start-ups but not bargain with the quality of our products. Students building start-ups while studying in Delhi government colleges will be able to seek one to two years of leave,” Kejriwal said. The chief minister said a robust task force will oversee the registration of start-ups under the policy. “I hope Delhi will be home to unicorns and behemoth businesses that the world will look up to,” he added.
Presenting the policy framework in the Cabinet, the industries department said it seeks to enable Delhi to emerge as a global innovation hub and the most preferred destination for start-ups by 2030 by creating an enabling ecosystem for innovation-based economy and fostering entrepreneurial spirit through a robust support mechanism. “Our country’s hope and future lies in the hands of our youth. Our youth is talented, capable, hardworking and intelligent. But our country’s system hasn’t let them thrive. Be it the education system, the employment system or the political system, they have all hindered the growth of the country,” the chief minister said.
Noting that the Delhi government’s budget for this year focuses on businesses and employment generation, he said the government is revamping markets, setting up the ‘Dilli Bazaar’ portal, organising the ‘Delhi Shopping Festival’ and doing much more to help boost the economy. The start-up policy has been formulated after studying similar policies from across the world, Kejriwal added.
The Delhi government will provide both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to youngsters who want to build their own start-ups, he said. “For instance, the Delhi government will pay up to 50 per cent of the rent of a start-up’s office lease. Similarly, we will pitch in for a portion of the salaries that these start-ups will pay to their employees. We will further reimburse their patent, copyright and trademarking costs and help with internet bills among other provisions. We will also offer collateral-free loans, interest-free loans and incentivise incubation centres and fabrication labs,” the chief minister said.
He also said that the government will empanel agencies to aid start-ups. “The bigger picture, however, is when youngsters want to build their businesses, they give 10 per cent of their time to these business and 90 per cent to paperwork and official formalities. We will overcome this problem by empanelling agencies and professionals to aid these start-ups for free,” Kejriwal said. There will be panels of lawyers, experts, CAs and other such professionals who will provide free services to the start-ups, and the Delhi government will pay them, he said.
“Our teams will help start-ups in marketing, developing their social media, taking their services to the market, investor approach, taxation, filing, loan work and the like. All of this will be free,” he added. If there is any student in a Delhi government institute who develops a product or a start-up they want to focus on, they will be offered a two-year leave to work on it, Kejriwal said. Such students can develop their businesses and return after the leave to get their degrees, he added.
The whole policy will be taken care of by a task-force, Kejriwal said, adding that it will consist of one government official and the rest will be academics, experts and industry representatives. “Eighty-five per cent of the people in the task force will be from the industry. People will apply to this task force and it will further consider their application for acceptance. I am sure, this ripple of a policy will lead to a wave of start-ups in Delhi,” he added.
The policy aims to encourage, facilitate and support 15,000 start-ups by 2030. A monitoring committee will be formed to oversee the Delhi Start-up Policy which will be headed by the finance minister of the Delhi government. It will also consist of the industries minister of the Delhi government and senior representatives of other state departments as members.