Piyush Goyal holds video conference with startup ecosystem stakeholders to assess impact of COVID-19

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday held a meeting through video conference with the stakeholders of startup ecosystem, including developers, leading startups, angel investors and others, to assess the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown in the country.

A statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said, "The minister stressed the important role being played by startups in the country as the harbingers of hope and for the future of the country."

Goyal said that the country is passing through an unprecedented crisis, and this requires prompt remedial actions. He sought everyone's cooperation in overcoming the hardships being faced by the industry, particularly the startups.

The minister said it is the positive spirit of the startup entrepreneurs that is making them rise to the occasion and trying to find solutions to various problems linked to COVID-19.

"He welcomed the launch of Action COVID-19 Team (ACT) which is starting a Rs 100 crore programme, aimed to seed over 50 initiatives through grants to combat the economic fallout of COVID-19 in India," the statement said.

The minister also welcomed another startup venture which is trying to help the kirana (small retail shops) stores in Tier-II and Tier-III towns, overcome the issues of supply chain and scarcity of resources. After listening to the various problems and suggestions by the startup stakeholders, he called for collaborative efforts.

In the meeting, it was mentioned that many startups have been working on finding various solutions to COVID-19 issues with focus on preventive, assistive and curative aspects of the pandemic. Many of the ventures are in the final stage of launch and others will require some more time to take shape, read the statement.

"These ventures will require access, funding, validation, scaling-up and support. A joint committee from various government departments and industry associations are evaluating these initiatives. The participants raised specific issues with the officers present in the meeting. Many solutions were pointed out in the meeting and it was decided that some suggestions of the startup fraternity needs detailed consideration," it added.

"The startup representatives raised the concerns, ranging from the question of their survival, liquidity crunch, cash flow and revenue problems, labour matters and other difficulties in running the ventures due to lockdown," the statement further said.

The meeting was also attended by the officers from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, SEBI, CBDT, CBIC, NITI Aayog and SIDBI.