Rajesh Sawhney lists the key points Budget 2015-16 should focus on.
1. Offer incentives for angel investing and scrap the Angel Tax. The time has come for India to be a nation of angel investors. Angel investing is crucial for the start-up ecosystem and given the fact that start-ups are one of the riskiest forms of investments, angel investing will not pick up unless it is incentivised. The government must provide tax benefits to angel investors. In fact, the least the government can do is not to penalise people who risk their money with start-ups. Angel investments should be easy enough for people to consider them as an investment option just like mutual funds. People should invest in companies that create jobs rather than unproductive assets like gold.
2. In last year's Budget speech, the government announced setting up a nationwide incubation infrastructure for start-ups. While the announcement was cheered by the start-up community, it's appalling that nothing has moved on the ground. Clearly, the government machinery is not equipped for creating enabling infrastructure for start-ups. A good alternative to the government stance on taking up the cudgels in its own hands is to identify those in the incubation and acceleration business who have a proven track record and support them with more funding. The government should actually invest in early-stage investment players - incubators, accelerators and early-stage funds.
3. Since 2012, a number of funds have been announced for start-ups. Last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced setting up of a Rs 10,000-crore fund for start-ups. But nothing has moved. That should not have taken a year but a few months. Most start-ups would not like the government as an investor because the government does not understand start-ups. Plus, working with the government will have too many ifs and buts. The government should study schemes working in Singapore and Israel. There, mostly the government is a co-investor in start-ups along with other accelerators or investors. As told to Taslima Khan