Startup that never got started

Published at January 11, 2018 11:26 PM 0Comment(s)1963views

Santosh Bhartiya

Startup that never got started

In political arena, some facts are purposely suppressed. Many facts pertaining to Startup India are an example of the same. I wish to pen few words about this ambitious scheme announced by Prime Minister. On 15 August 2015, PM Modi announced this scheme from the ramparts of Red Fort with the objective of eliminating unemployment and promoting young entrepreneurs. He urged on the youth that instead of wandering in search of a job, they should start their own business and provide jobs to others. The announcement was received with enthusiasm as it was meant to realize the prime minister’s promised mantra of job creation – four crore jobs a year.  The scheme, however, took some time to get started – Startup India was launched on 26 January 2016.

Initially, Rs 2500 crores were allocated to assist registered startups under this scheme, but only 77 of those have got assistant to the tune of Rs 337 crores, whereas at present there are 5350 registered startups with 40 thousand workforce in the country. Ideally, at least Rs 2000 crore should have been released from the fund of Rs 2500 crore allocated for young entrepreneurs who have registered their startups. Why only Rs 337 crore was released for only 77 out of a total of 5350 registered startups? As per reports most of the startups, in want of funds, have reached at the brink of closure. To add to their woes, GST was announced.

Moreover, instead of transferring fund directly to the startup, alternative investment fund (AIF) was created, perhaps on the behest of government officials. Since it was the ambitious project of the prime minister, he may have been advised to create this fund under the SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India). Anyway, the AIF is meant only for those startups which are registered under SEBI. Many of the young entrepreneurs are unaware of this tedious process of getting registered. They could neither go to SEBI nor contact SIDBI. Believing in prime minister’s speech they did not show interest in the rest of the process, and no one came forward to guide them. As a result, all the startups have reached the brink of closure. And t has led to an inevitable question: did Modi analyze this ambitious scheme of his or did he just hand it over to the bureaucrats after the Red Fort speech? I can undoubtedly conclude that the prime minister did not do any analysis. That is why, in Rajya Sabha, the government had to admit that in last two years only Rs 337 crores were made available for the startups, against the estimated Rs 2500 crores annually.

It is evident from the fact that bureaucrats have ruined Startup India, and that the prime minister too has never shown interest in taking stock of it, otherwise deception of such proportion would not have happened in the country. Consequently, when the figures are summed up as to how many jobs were created last three years, we cannot go beyond a lakh, whereas the target was to provide 4 crore jobs every year; believing only in this promise that the youth voted him and the BJP in power. The youth were convinced that despite the bureaucratic hassles, Prime Minister Modi would be able to overcome all hurdles and provide employment to the youth. Reneging on the promise has disappointed the youngsters.

Our government intends to see our economy stand with world's major five economies, but the reality is that nine big public sector banks have reached the brink. Two of them have been asked against dispensing loans, the reason being burgeoning non-performing assets. By September 2017, NPAs of public sector banks have crossed Rs 7.34 lakh crore mark. How could the NPA be allowed to pile up? This is a big question. Out of Rs 7.34 lakh crore NPA, 77 per cent is being shared by big industrial houses that are hand in glove with governments or banks. The government has not yet made this list public, but the figure related to 77 percent of the data has come from the government. It means that the big industrial houses have taken loans from banks and they are not repaying their loans like Vijay Mallya.

In the last ten years of Modi’s rule, significant rise in NPAs has been registered and some of them have been written off as well. The way in which these big industrial houses have devoured this money have once again has devised plan to indulge in loot public money in connivance with the banks. The government’s silence is scary. When the big industrial houses eat up and devoured bank money, the government had to dole out money to get the banks going. Now the pertinent question: where does the government keep this money? The government takes the money from the people and gives it to banks to compensate their losses. This means that the NPAs of banks will never come back and this loss will be compensated with the hard-earned income of ordinary citizens. Therefore, it is necessary for the people to understand the crisis that has come in front of the country. But the irony is neither media nor the opposition help this crisis to come in the knowledge of the country.

On the other hand, small farmers are committing suicides every day under the pressure of loans from the same banks. The incidents of farmer suicides are being reported even from those states where no such incident was reported earlier. Moreover, the government rub salt on the wound by calling farmers suicide fashionable. What a cruel joke on hapless farmers who take extreme decision to salvage their social reputation and the minister calls it “fashionable”! Of late, I came to know that 10 to 15 people have committed suicide in Bundelkhand. They wrote a letter the chief minister acquainting him with their decision to commit suicide. The deceased include a councilor and a student of Allahabad University. They too have entered in to the dark tunnel of farm debt, from where there is no way out.

In order to prevent governments to waive farm loan, the newspapers and channels associated with corporate houses make noise that if the debt is waived, the economy will get derailed. But, on the other hand, an impression is being created that if the corporate houses devoured their loans it gets utilized in the development of the country.  The question is even after going through such situation, farmers will stand up for themselves, or jeopardize their economic interests by being divided on the line of caste and religion, and some ministers will keep calling their suffering “fashionable”. These are the questions before the people, opposition parties, and media in the country, which they conveniently ignore. Day will come when the farmers and youth of the country will understand the situation and raise their voice against the real culprits involved in the loot.

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