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Tech start-ups cheer Budget's 'positive intent'

Govt proposes Rs 1,000-cr incubation fund; Rs 150-cr innovation mission; relaxes norms for Indian investors

Itika Sharma Punit  |  Bengaluru 

TV sets broadcasting live the Union Budget 2015-16 speech at an electronic store in Mumbai

The technology industry, faced with several roadblocks due to regulations that predate its existence, had a reason to cheer on Saturday: Finance Minister “showed a positive intent” of providing support for the ecosystem.

Even as the sector’s several wishes were not met, the government proposed to set up an innovation fund, Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation (Setu), as a techno-financial incubation and facilitation programme to support all aspects of business. The for 2015-16 allocated an initial amount of Rs 1,000 crore for the fund, which will operate under the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.
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Additionally, the government proposed Rs 150 crore for the Atal Innovation Mission, for Grand Challenges in India.

 

While details are still awaited, there’s anxiety in the over disbursement of and future road map for the fund. The fine prints of the fund are particularly awaited.

Some experts, however, point out that the fund is different from the ‘fund of funds’ set up last year, and say they are hopeful of faster execution of this “more realistic” fund.

The also proposed to ease norms for fund managers to relocate to India, as Jaitley said the government would modify Permanent Establishment (PE) norm to encourage fund managers to relocate to the country. The software product think-tank, iSpirt, believes this measure might help “plug the technology exodus from India”.

The also proposed a cut in the rate on income tax on royalty and fees for technical services to 10 per cent from 25 per cent, which Jaitley said was to ensure “young entrepreneur running business ventures or wanting to start new ones” get access to “latest technology”.

"The measure around royalty may not help everybody, but then any move to reduce the burden on younger companies is positive," said Ravi Gururaj, chairman on body Nasscom's product conclave.

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