Commerce and Industry Ministry Piyush Goyal pitched for more Indian businesses — traditional as well as new-age unicorn start-ups — pooling in funds to enable access to Indian capital that can be used to help youngsters, exploring new ideas, overcome the hurdle of insufficient capital. While he was not stopping anybody from importing technologies, Mr. Goyal said, India also had the tremendous potential to innovate and build business. “Very often, the detriment is adequate capital,” he said. [The] government has its own limitations in understanding new businesses, providing adequate funding and really assessing and analysing the potential of new businesses,” he said at a CII event for the launch of ‘India’s Future Business Group.’ The CII could also look at creating such a fund among its members, he added. “I think our traditional businesses will do well to contribute to such a fund… it may be a small amount”.He also suggested that Indian soonicorns — start-ups that may soon enter the unicorn club, and unicorns create such a pool of funds. “…I am saying it without any great thought, but on an impulse… I am suggesting it to all the young entrepreneurs who have made it big. If all these soonicorns and unicorns sell 1% of their equity and create a pool of capital… it will be an Indian pooled investment vehicle that some of you all can put in your investment advisers or your investment teams to support the assessment of our young people coming up with new ideas and demonstrate your commitment to supporting new businesses with Indian capital.”“… I sometimes feel pained that so many good ideas have had to sell out at that critical point at very low valuations to international funding, and the advantage of that growth was largely offshore, and India could not participate in that advantage. Also, I am sure that this group will be more sympathetic and more understanding of India’s pressing needs, problems and solutions… I’ve always felt that Indian businesses should put in more equity into this space,” he said.Replying to a query by Snapdeal co-founder on issues related to E-SOPs (employee stock option plans), including taxation, Mr. Goyal asked the start-up community to come up with a holistic paper on issues.He added that in October or November, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will engage with start-ups on the matter.“Come up with a wholistic paper, and we will push it and see what we can do this around in the Budget to sort out these issues about making it an easier regime, particularly the difference between listed and unlisted…,” Mr Goyal said, while also seeking suggestion to deal with “overhang in the tax system and the tax authorities of the hawala-type transactions that used to happen in the past.”Speaking at the keynote, the Union Minister added that he believes India will overcome setbacks in growth “faster than anybody imagines.” “The objective is to get growth back into India… 8%, I have always believed is a modest growth and we can do it, we should do it. We will all have to work collectively to do to achieve that. It’s unfortunate that certain global events in the last two or three years, by that I mean the trade wars and the disruption in global trade, and now the last few months of severe health crisis… the pandemic has set us back from the aggressive growth plans that we had.”
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