2016年1月，印度总理莫迪宣布推出一项名为“印度初创企业行动计划”（Startup India Action Plan）的政府倡议。据悉，本次倡议将为印度创企带来多项帮扶措施，比如税收减免、快捷文件处理、融资和其他合作计划等。
印度初创企业中心（Startup India Hub）网站"体系"下列出了3800余家企业。经Quartz联系，某些企业甚至不知自家公司位列其中。
LoanTap是一家向有薪人士提供贷款的在线平台，注册了印度初创企业计划（Startup India）项目。该公司联合创始人Vikas Kumar表示："假如说我与100家创企交谈，可能只有五家知道什么是印度初创企业计划（Startup India）。就算它们大概听过这一项目，也并不完全理解。公众对该项目的了解仍然很少。
成立九月的数字媒体应用Clip App联合创始人Nav Agarwal表示："我（在这个项目发布会上）感受到了一些发展动力，除此之外好像也没什么了。"
电商市场GoCoop也在网站名单之列，其创始人Siva Devireddy说道："我们受邀参加Startup India计划，仅此而已。"
同时，早起投资企业India Quotient联合创始人Madhukar Sinha表示，许多够格享受项目裨益的企业却因繁冗的程序不在名单之内。
税收优惠或政府设立的1000亿卢比（约15亿美元）创企基金（Fund of Funds for Startups，FFS）均未能打动企业。印度工商业国务大臣CR Chaudhary于2017年12月18日在给人民院的书面回应中写道，1000亿卢比中仅有10%的资金被发放至75家企业，每家企业收到337020卢比。
1月16日，印度产业政策与促进司（Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion）表示其计划为FFS注入更多资金，使总投资额达220亿卢比（3.46亿美元）。
节能吊扇创企Atomberg Technology创始人Manoj Meena表示："我们因此与产业政策与促进司搭对了线，它们会帮助我们推广产品。"
India is home to over 20,000 startups, but few are even aware of the benefits of the government’s ambitious Startup India programme.
On Jan. 16, 2016, Narendra Modi launched the Startup India Action Plan amid much fanfare. Addressing an audience of over 1,500 entrepreneurs and investors on that day, the prime minister announced a gamut of benefits for startups ranging from tax exemptions and faster processing of documents to funding and mentorship.
The initiative was touted to be a game-changer in the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem. But it didn’t seem to stir much except the wind.
Two years on, only a handful of entrepreneurs have actually benefited. Even to those whom the initiative has been helpful, it’s been largely limited to getting publicity and networking.
Quartz spoke to over a dozen startups, investors, and industry experts to see what has changed since.
The Startup India Hub website lists over 3,800 firms under its “ecosystem.” Some of those whom Quartz reached out to were surprised they were on the list.
Several entrepreneurs from Chennai, Bengaluru, and New Delhi, while aware of Startup India, said they “don’t really know much about the benefits” of registering for it.
“If I talk to, say, 100 startups, only five will be aware of what (the) Startup India initiative is. While they’ve vaguely heard of it, they’ve not really understood it. At the street level the knowledge is still low,” Vikas Kumar, co-founder of LoanTap, an online platform that provides loans to salaried individuals, told Quartz. LoanTap is registered with Startup India.
A recent survey by community-based social networking site LocalCircles reflects a similar sentiment.
“The kind of motivation I got (from the Startup India launch event)…that’s the only thing I’ve received,” Nav Agarwal, co-founder of Clip App, a nine-month-old digital media app, said.
Many startups, however, did register. For instance, there is the online technical learning platform, Guvi, which joined the herd. But its founder Arun Prakash says there’s been no movement in the programme since then.
“We were invited to the launch of (the) Startup India programme and that’s about it,” said Siva Devireddy, founder of e-commerce marketplace GoCoop, which, too, figures on the Startup India Hub website.
Meanwhile, many firms that qualify for the benefits have stayed away, thanks to the cumbersome process, said Madhukar Sinha, co-founder of early-stage investment firm India Quotient.
Moreover, promises of tax exemptions or incubation support have not yet translated into reality, experts believe.
The tax benefits or the Rs10,000 crore (approximately $1.5 billion) Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) set up by the government have not enthused many either. A mere 10% of the Rs10,000 crore has been disbursed so far, out of which some “75 startups have received funding to the tune of Rs. 337.02 crore,” CR Chaudhary, minister of state for commerce and industry, stated in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha on Dec. 18, 2017.
On Jan. 16, the department of industrial promotion and policy (DIPP) said it intends to plow more money into the FFS, bringing the total investment amount up to Rs2,200 crore ($346 million).
Overall, the initiative has been of help to few in terms of funding.
The lucky few
However, some hit the jackpot—and can’t stop raving about it. They are excited more about the publicity and networking benefits they have got till now.
“We get to connect with the right person in the department (DIPP), and also they help you in promoting your product,” said Manoj Meena, the founder of Atomberg Technology, a startup that makes energy-efficient ceiling fans.
The company sells electrical equipment that requires several certifications from government agencies, and being part of the network has helped it hasten that process, he said. Atomberg is also assigned an advisor from the Startup India team who they can tap any time for advice on government schemes.
“There’s been much more handholding,” Kumar of LoanTap said.
Being a Startup India member has also given companies credibility. “I see a distinct difference in the way funds are now behaving with us than (how) they used to behave earlier,” Kumar said.
Scope for improvement
While the government has ambitious plans, including bringing in more money and women entrepreneurs into the ecosystem, it needs to iron out a lot of kinks.
For starters, there’s the need to create more awareness about the programme. “We don’t know if tech-based startups qualify (for the benefits) or if it is only for hardware startups,” Agarwal of Clip App said.
Besides, the current benefits are applicable only for companies that are already making money.
“A lot of incubation has to happen. A lot of people initially have fantastic ideas but they drop the idea because of a lack of even very small amounts of capital. If one gets the smallest of support through incubation centres, that would help,” Vipin Pathak, founder of healthcare startup Care24, registered under Startup India, said.
One aspect that entrepreneurs seek clarity on is taxation. During the launch, Modi had promised exemptions on investments above fair market value, which is the estimated market value that a buyer will be willing to pay for a startup. But confusion remains.
“Everybody knows it is a thorny issue and every startup has the same problem because every investment is above fair market value,” Kumar of LoanTap said. “So even if the government did nothing, and sorted this issue out, it would be amazing. This particular issue the government should have taken much more seriously than they have.”