PM not bothered about youngsters, BJP blew apart India’s start-up ecosystem: Cong

08:35 AM Mar 21, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Congress alleged on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not bothered about youngsters and only cares about his publicity while accusing the ruling BJP of blowing apart the country’s start-up ecosystem.


The opposition party also accused Modi of snatching credit from hardworking entrepreneurs, without providing them with any support.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the prime minister should have made himself accountable while attending the “Startup Mahakumbh”.

“PM Narendra Modi ji, two months ago, we had asked you 3 direct questions on the failure of Startup India. Today, while attending the ‘Startup Mahakumbh’, you should have made yourself accountable.

“Fact Remains — you do not care about youth. You only care about self-publicity, by snatching credit from our hardworking entrepreneurs, without providing them any support,” Kharge said in a post on X.


Modi on Wednesday said India will lead the world in artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and exhorted young entrepreneurs and startups to work on “Indian solutions for global applications” to solve challenges faced by countries across the world.

Addressing the Startup Mahakumbh here, the prime minister said the three missions on AI, semiconductors and quantum, launched by the government earlier, will generate jobs for youngsters and investment opportunities for global investors.

He also took potshots at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying some people in politics need to be launched repeatedly, unlike startups that move on to other avenues in case one venture does not work out.

Without naming anyone, Modi said many people launch startups, while the number is much higher in politics.

Some “have to be launched repeatedly”, he said.

Congress general secretary, communications, Jairam Ramesh said “our Credit-Jeevi Prime Minister is at the Startup Mahakumbh today itself, trying to spin himself — the architect of ‘Chanda Do, Dhandha Lo’ — as a supporter of entrepreneurship”.

“In reality, the BJP has blown apart India’s start-up ecosystem: The introduction of a tax on non-resident angel investors in unlisted firms hurts India at a time when we need foreign capital. A nascent AI industry has been hit by uncertainty over the IT minister’s demand that AI models ‘seek government permission’, despite the demand having no legal basis,” the Congress leader said in a post on X.

As part of the “Yuva Nyay” guarantees of the Congress announced by Gandhi and Kharge, Ramesh said “Yuva Roshni” is a revolutionary promise that will fuel the country’s young entrepreneurs.

A Rs 5,000-crore startup fund, available to those aged under 40 years in every district of the country, will fund India’s dreamers to realise their visions, no matter whether they live in Bengaluru or Bhagalpur, he said, referring to the “Yuva Nyay” guarantees.

“This initial ‘fund of funds’ will be a catalytic investment, spurring much more private investment with it. Such a startup fund is the need of the hour for many reasons: Entrepreneurship will be the engine that powers India’s growth into the future. Lakhs of young Indians have the ideas and the determination to succeed, but are held back by a lack of funding opportunities,” he said.

Unfortunately, such a startup fund is also necessary because of the Modi-made economic disaster Indians find themselves in today, Ramesh alleged.

The Indian market for venture capital funding has fallen tremendously, where inflows fell by more than 60 per cent last year — from USD 26 billion in 2022 to about USD 9.5 billion in 2023 — he said.

There was a decline in the deal volume (from 1,611 to 880 deals) and the average deal size (from USD 16 million to USD 11 million), the Congress leader added.

The Indian startup ecosystem saw more than 24,000 lay-offs in 2023, up from 20,000 in 2022, he said, adding that graduates, in particular, face a 42-per cent unemployment rate.

“India’s educated youth are desperately seeking ways to contribute to the nation. The Congress party promises policy stability and the abolition of the angel tax for the startups of India. The Congress party’s Yuva Roshni guarantee, combined with the other Yuva Nyay and Paanch Nyay guarantees, will show the path to a future where all our youth are able to find employment and a chance to contribute to the nation,” Ramesh said.


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