How Ramesh Abhishek Failed To Deliver On One Of GOI’s best initiatives, Startup India

Ramesh Abhishek Agrawal's own Corruption Model in Startup India via 'Beti bachao & Beti badhao'

Ramesh Abhishek Agrawal's own Corruption Model in Startup India via 'Beti bachao & Beti badhao'
Ramesh Abhishek Agrawal's own Corruption Model in Startup India via 'Beti bachao & Beti badhao'

Parts 1 and 2 of this series can be accessed here. Part 3 is titled Ramesh Abhishek creates his own Make in India via Kolkata! This is Part 4.

The Indian government had launched its ambitious initiative of Startup India on 16th January 2016 with the objective of supporting entrepreneurs, building a robust startup ecosystem and transforming India into a country of job creators instead of job seekers. The entire program is managed by a dedicated Startup India team headed by Mr. Ramesh Abhishek (RA) in the Department for Industrial Policy and Promotion (DPIIT). The dream of the Indian government to become the Startup hub of South East Asia has turned sour with numerous startups facing nightmarish bureaucratic hurdles even as the DPIIT team in charge of the program is making tall claims on project.

Let’s look at certain facts. As per the data on Startup India website as on June 28, 2019, the following can be observed:

STARTUP INDIA SCORECARD
Startups Recognized till  date 20,113
Startups funded till date through SIDBI Fund of Funds 218
Percentage of Startups funded through SIDBI Fund of Funds 1.08%
No. of Startups who have got tax exemptions till date 94
Percentage of Startups who have got tax exemptions 0.46%

The main benefits of Startup India were to ensure easy funding and tax exemptions to Startups. The question is whether statistics above i.e 1% of Startups getting funded and 0.5% of startups getting tax exemption can be considered a success for Startup India?

Can Ramesh Abhishek answer these simple questions?

  1. Who approves the first level of start-ups recognition, time taken and on what basis?
  2. How many start-ups are recognized by DPIIT? Please provide year-wise break-up recognition.
  3. How many start-ups who applied for recognitions are rejected by DPIIT?
  4. How many start-ups are approved for Income Tax exemptions? We are getting conflicting numbers…
  5. How many start-ups are approved for angel tax exemptions?
  6. Can you list start-ups that are funded by the SIDBI fund of funds and the funding amounts?
  7. Which are the schemes / Benefits available for start-ups? (Like website lists Venture Capital Scheme, Support for International Patent Protection, Stand up India, Single Point Registration Scheme (SRPS), etc.). Please provide the list of No. of start-ups that actually availed benefited against respective schemes / benefits.
  8. Can start-ups quote their recognition number with any other authorities like Professional Tax, Shop Establishments, etc.? Is there any provision for the same or any benefits?

Singapore – still a preferred destination for Indian Startups?

Given India’s strong GDP growth and huge potential, India should be the hotbed of the startup ecosystem in South East Asia. However, several issues as highlighted above have literally halted the Startup bandwagon in India. Instead, Singapore continues to thrive as a favorite destination for Indian Startups due to the ease of doing business, lower tax rates, faster regulatory clearances and a hands-on approach to solving any and all problems.

Why Startup India is failing?

Several startup companies have complained via Social Media (see below) on the various difficulties faced by them. Why hasn’t DPIIT addressed these?

Instead, we find that Mr. Ramesh Abhishek has been reduced to making tall claims on employment generation which has not been backed by action on the ground. There have been allegations of favoritism while disbursing funds to select AIF’s through the SIDBI Fund of Funds. Further, there have been murmurs of favoritism to certain Startups who have received tax exemption from the Inter-Ministerial Board.

When Nikunj Bubna wrote to the concerned minister Piyush Goyal and wondered if DPIIT under him can’t accept constructive criticism, Ramesh Abhishek promptly blocked him!

User blocked for asking inconvenient questions?
User blocked for asking inconvenient questions?

When he was at Forward Markets Commission (FMC) his daughter Vaneesa Agrawal was a consultant at Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Now that RA has moved to DPIIT, his daughter is having a startup that “assists” companies in seeking various things, such as Venture Capital for startups. See the picture below for more:
Vaneesa Agrawal follows Ramesh Abhishek Agrawal
Vaneesa Agrawal follows Ramesh Abhishek Agrawal

Conclusion

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should investigate this. There are several coincidences that would pop up[1]. As mentioned in a previous article, Vaneesa Agrawal was working as a “Consultant” in several places at the same time, during the period FY2014-15 to FY2017-18. In a Whistleblower (WB) complaint to the Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission copied to Lokpal and investigative agencies, the WB has alleged that Ramesh Abhishek got his daughter appointed as a Consultant to several groups such as the Angel Network, Indian Angel Network, Angel Association Network of India etc. The quid pro quo in exchange of huge fees (paid in cash and cheque) is that RA would take the above groups to various committees of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India. In essence, a bribe.

References:

[1] Did Ramesh Abhishek use his contacts in Home Ministry to harass the suspected Whistleblower? Jun 7, 2019, PGurus.com

Team PGurus

We are a team of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Can Ramesh Abhishek answer these simple questions?

    Who approves the first level of start-ups recognition, time taken and on what basis?

    It’s done by an in house team which evaluates them on very objective criteria.

    How many start-ups are recognized by DPIIT? Please provide year-wise break-up recognition.
    How many start-ups who applied for recognitions are rejected by DPIIT?

    You can file an RTI and get these figures.

    How many start-ups are approved for Income Tax exemptions? We are getting conflicting numbers…
    How many start-ups are approved for angel tax exemptions?

    600+ by now I believe. Again, RTI able. Also, check startup India Twitter handle/ website for this.

    Can you list start-ups that are funded by the SIDBI fund of funds and the funding amounts?

    It’s in the website. Under for start ups: startup India notifications, 5th tab on the left.

    Which are the schemes / Benefits available for start-ups? (Like website lists Venture Capital Scheme, Support for International Patent Protection, Stand up India, Single Point Registration Scheme (SRPS), etc.). Please provide the list of No. of start-ups that actually availed benefited against respective schemes / benefits.

    Sipp scheme for ipr. Visit the website or cipam website for updated figures. 2k + beneficiaries already

    Can start-ups quote their recognition number with any other authorities like Professional Tax, Shop Establishments, etc.? Is there any provision for the same or any benefits?

    Yes they can. If they quote it while applying for.goverbment procurement, the system even gives them a waiver on Emd.

    Your claims are shallow and lack depth. A perfect example of fake news. Surprised Google allows you to purchase so much ad space.

  2. Small minds cannot deliver big ideas. It requires selflessness and big heart, love for the people and nation and above all passion for work.
    Business communities can never be selfless.

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