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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend unveiled a massive US$1.5-billion fund to support the country’s already fast-growing startup sector. Speaking at Startup India in New Delhi, the fund is part of the government’s Action Plan, which sets out to encourage innovation and job creation in Asia’s second-largest emerging market.
Apart from the many millions, the Plan also includes major tax cuts, reduced regulation, procedures to fast-track patents and channels for easier access to public procurement. The government will also be responsible for a mobile app to provide “on-the-go accessibility” for all startups’ regulatory needs.
“I urge all entrepreneurs to create companies that solve India’s problems and create jobs,” Fortune reports Modi saying. “Startup does not mean a billion-dollar company where thousands of people work. It is about employing even five people, and developing India.”
The Prime Minister has introduced various schemes to support the startup space since he got elected. One of which includes a US$306-million VC fund, inspired by Israel’s much-talked about Yozma programme.
Further demonstrating his commitment to the tech industry, Modi last year traveled to the US where he met up with some of the world’s top tech companies’ CEOs. Some of these included Elon Musk of Tesla, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Satya Nadella of Microsoft.
Poised to rival China’s startup ecosystem, India boasts heaps of success stories. Some of these include Twitter’s acquisition of ZipDial, the fast-growing ecommerce sites like Flipkart as well as the impressive Snapdeal and ride-sharing company Ola.
According to VCCEdge, the country’s angel and seed investments grew 64% last year, increasing to US$327-million from US$200-million in 2014. At the same time, private equity investment deals hit an all-time high, crossing the US$21-billion milestone in 2015.