Congress blasts start-up programme

Congress blasts  start-up programme

The Congress on Sunday picked holes into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Start-Up India programme and said it had many misses, cautioning the government against its decision to earmarking of Rs 10,000 crore of public money to the risky generic venture capital funds.

The party urged the government to direct such taxpayer funds preferably into social impact innovation in sectors like agriculture technologies, education and affordable healthcare, “where private venture capital is not easily available.”

“When the overall economy is in shambles with falling exports, weak domestic demand and a collapsing rupee, it is prudent to optimise government funds in important social sectors and not in risky generic venture capital funds,” senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh said in a statement.

The generic venture capital funds, towards which the government announced on Saturday directing Rs 10,000 crore fund, anyways attract funds from various sources, including “foreign billionaires,” he added.

The party though welcomed the unveiling of policy initiatives taken for the “new class of emerging, innovative companies called Start Ups”, it sought to downplay the efforts made by the Narendra Modi government, taking a pot shot.

 “The Congress welcomes yet another re-discovery by the prime minister of something that it had always recognised,” Jairam said, “The Congress Party is proud that India rose to becoming the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world during its regime.”

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held meetings with start-ups across the country and the most important policy requirement expressed by the entrepreneurs was to maintain neutrality of the Internet between big business and start-ups, he said.

“It is unfortunate that in the mega show for start-ups that the government held yesterday (Saturday), the prime minister failed to commit to net neutrality. His silence on this vital issue is deafening,” Jairam added.

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