Government’s ambitious ‘Startup India’ campaign is essentially geared towards promoting the entrepreneurial culture in our country. The bootstrapping spirit has been missing in our country, partially due to lack of motivating governmental incentives and rest due to our age-old tendency to prioritise jobs over charting the new innovative course. Turbocharging the campaign; Startup culture in its full bloom would generate employment as well as pull the GDP up.

It is important that the Startup spirit is instilled in students adequately to stop their reliance on ready-made employment opportunities, students should be driven by the urge to utilise their potential for adding newer dimension to the Startup landscape. Spreading the Startup culture among blossoming youth is essentially concerned with embedding the passion for exploring newer avenues of professional success by optimising on acquired skills. Students possess the right blend of enthusiasm and knowledge to benefit maximally from the government’s Startup related support.

The Indian educational landscape is heavily job oriented. This lopsided nurturing of fecund minds restricts the flight of imagination. Young and ambitious people are conditioned to believe that a secure job would serve as the mainstay. Consequently, the blinkered view adopted by students graduating out of top institutions kill the entrepreneurial spirit in them. To bring about a dramatic change in the temperament of students, it is imperative that they are made well acquainted with governmental incentives for Startups.

Academic shot in the arm needed

Course curriculum of any field of study needs to be incorporated with newer insights regarding the need for embracing the Startup culture. This would also help in stopping the drain of most productive minds to foreign soil. Inputs about federal initiatives have to be a part of the pedagogic exercise.  Colleges can mull having incubation centres in their campuses wherein students can materialise their aspirations by analysing the viability of proposed projects under controlled circumstances. Teachers have to serve as guides wherein students would be demonstrated the benefits of federal initiatives and how they can apply the same in their nascent projects.

Budgetary incentives to inspire the would-be entrepreneur in students

Incidentally, in the recent budget, the government has announced a volley of tantalising policies to bring more and more people within the Startup fold. A Startup will be entitled to income tax exemption for a prolonged duration of seven years from the date of incorporation as compared to present five years. In a bid to curb the carry forward losses, the constraint related to maintaining the shareholding pattern intact up to an equity investment of 51% has been relaxed. Another heartening budget announcement is the provision of carrying forward of tax losses. So, as a Startup driver, one is essentially offered a reprieve if he/ she experiences losses in the initial phase which prevents the fulfilment of tax liabilities. The resultant losses can be carried forward and offset in ensuing years when the profits of the Startup start trickling in. This benefit can be availed on the condition that the promoter’s face has not changed during this course. Further, the Startups registering an annual turnover of Rs. 50 crores or less become eligible for 25% lesser tax burden compared to previous years. The minimum alternate tax, which presently could be carried forward to ten years, can now be paid over a period of fifteen years.

To optimally benefit from such incentives and to channelise one’s potential in the right direction, one need proper mentoring. Each university should constitute a board of eminent scholars, scientists and successful entrepreneurs from diverse fields. The discerning members would help students with the strategies needed to hatch the concept of a project and work on the modalities to make the same feasible. Innovation funds should be set up to provide capital for minor projects carried out by students. The final year industry exposure session should essentially focus on making students conversant with the proven ways of successful industry trendsetters. Case studies, to inspire students to take up the path of innovation, should be a part of the curriculum in each academic session to ensure that the fire kindled does not die out. Academic institutions have to serve as the catalyst for positive change in the Startup landscape of India. Once a batch of students blazes the trail for the next generation, the positive energy would sweep the nation intuitively. It is high time that academic institutions align their priorities with a governmental vision to prepare students for the futuristic Startup roadmap.

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