India's budding entrepreneurs known as start-uppers are looking to federal Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to introduce a few policy changes to make their self-entrepreneurial forays sustainable and add to the job counts.
The main stumbling block for start-ups is the current regulatory mechanism, and they want Sitharaman to create a single-window arrangement for all statutory clearances. In the first two quarters of 2019, over 450 Indian start-ups received investments of up to $4 billion.
Currently, entrepreneurs face acute capital crunches amid lumpy tax issues causing obstructions in liquidity. Besides, they also lament about how inconvenient and time-consuming it is to play by the rules that lack a particular set of regulatory guidelines to help emerging businesses.
"There are so many requirements for compliance in India, yet there is not a single comprehensive list or way to know what compliance a company needs to adhere to. We all want to be compliant but it seems almost impossible. The country is pinning a lot of expectations on the 2020 budget," said Arihant Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, Seekify - a customer experience automation platform.
From the new budget, start-up owners are hoping for tax breaks for employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) that give workers, ownership interest in companies.
Also, the scrapping of valuation report-requirements on start-up investments of up to Rs. 25 crores (approximately $3.5 million) by regulatory agencies like the Income Tax Department and Registrar of Companies (ROC) have also made it to the wish-list of start-up owners ahead of the budget announcement.
"A few initiatives are key to a start-up ecosystem's growth in India like single window clearance in banks for overseas transactions, and special funding systems by the government to promote and invest in early-stage companies," said Yagnesh Sanghrajka, CFO, 100X.VC – a Mumbai-based venture capital firm.
According to media reports, the Indian government is expected to slash the corporate tax rates for new start-ups to 15 per cent from 22-24 per cent. It is also likely to permit direct listings of new Indian firms on foreign stock exchanges, hoping to rope in more funds from abroad.
Last year, foreign companies extended technical and training support to budding entrepreneurs in India, realizing the potential and fertility of the country's market.
For instance, in April 2019, Facebook expanded its SheLeadsTech initiative, aimed at empowering businesswomen to cover 87 cities in the country with 596 women-led tech start-ups across agri-tech, education-tech, gaming and other verticals.
In September 2019, the US-based software major Microsoft launched the outreach programme "Highway to a Hundred Unicorns", aiming to help Indian start-ups in smaller cities overcome key challenges, including a lack of advanced technology, and the shortage of mentorship from established industrial players.
In December 2019, 17 venture capital players and Angel investors from France signed deals with Indian start-ups.