Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Start-up India" initiative launched on 16 January, 2016, has evoked reasonably good response. The topic is trending at the top on Twitter under the hashtag #StartupIndia, though it is also facing its share of criticism by Modi's detractors, especially the Congress.
Earlier on Friday, President Pranab Mukherjee said India "woke up" late to the start-up initiative, while interacting with a delegation of CEOs from the Silicon Valley in New Delhi, reported NDTV.
India ranks third globally in terms of number of start-ups at 4,200 and they received funding of about $5 billion by 2015, according to software industry body, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).
The "Start-up India" initiative comes at a time when the global economy is weak and India, too, is facing headwinds such as falling exports, rising inflation and low factory output, as revealed by the macroeconomic data released by the government a couple of days ago. Industrial output (IIP) contracted by 3.2% in November, while inflation was 5.6% in December.
With investor sentiment positive, Indian startups will get more impetus. Congratulations to the Indian Govt for #StartupIndia initiative!
â€” KPMG India (@KPMGIndia) January 16, 2016
India has about 18,000 start-ups valued at $75 billion, employing 3,00,000 youngsters and techies #StartupIndia
â€” Arvind Gupta (@buzzindelhi) January 16, 2016
Arvind Gupta is a tech entrepreneur and founder-member of iSPiRT -- a software products think tank.
Amit Malviya, head of BJP's IT cell, said the Modi government is working for an "enabling ecosystem" for start-ups.
â€” Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) January 16, 2016
The announcement by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son to invest about $10 billion in Indian firms was one of the prominent tweets.
News agency ANI quoted the GOP spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi as saying that "just by empty acronyms like Startup India, Digital India etc, on-ground deliverables won't change."
Another spokesperson of the Congress, Sanjay Jha, rubbished Modi's initiative.
â€” Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) January 16, 2016
Former IIM Bangalore professor and Congress Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda, also sounded less enthusiastic about Modi's initiative.
â€” Rajeev Gowda (@rajeevgowda) January 16, 2016
The "Start-up India" initiative is being billed as an ambitious push to encourage Indian start-ups, with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asssuring a supporting system and promising of enhanced lending by banks.
Startup friendly tax measures will be announced in the forthcoming Budget: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley #StartupIndia
â€” January 16, 2016
Entrepreneurs attending the launch of the "Start-up India" programme include Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO, SoftBank; Travis Kalanick, founder, Uber, and Adam Nuemann, founder, WeWork, according to an official statement.
Google shall be conducting a session titled "Launchpad Accelerator", which will involve live pitches being made by early stage start-ups to potential investors.
Industry bodies such as FICCI, Assocham and CII have been largely supportive of "Start-up India".
Narendra Modi has described the initiative as a beginning of a "movement".
â€” Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 16, 2016