Startup India is an initiative by Government of India, to build an eco-system to nurture innovation in the country that will drive the economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities in the country.
Government of India announced this Action Plan to meet the objectives of the initiative.
• From digital/ technology sector to a wide array of sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, social sector, healthcare, education, etc.; and
• From existing tier 1 cities to tier 2 and tier 3 citites including semi-urban and rural areas.
The Action Plan is divided across the following areas:
• Simplification and Handholding
• Funding Support and Incentives
• Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation
Startups shall be allowed to self-certify compliance (through the Startup mobile app) with 9 labour and environment laws (refer below). In case of the labour laws, no inspections will be conducted for a period of 3 years. Startups may be inspected on receipt of credible and verifiable complaint of violation, filed in writing and approved by at least one level senior to the inspecting officer.
• The Building and Other Constructions Workers’ (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
• The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1979
• The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
• The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
• The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
• The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
• The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
• The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess (Amendment) Act, 2003
• The Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
To promote investments into Startups by mobilizing the capital gains arising from sale of capital assets
Due to their high risk nature, Startups are not able to attract investment in their initial stage. It is therefore important that suitable incentives are provided to investors for investing in the Startup ecosystem. With this objective, exemption shall be given to persons who have capital gains during the year, if they have invested such capital gains in the Fund of Funds recognized by the Government. This will augment the funds available to various VCs/AIFs for investment in Startups. In addition, existing capital gain tax exemption for investment in newly formed manufacturing MSMEs by individuals shall be extended to all Startups. Currently, such an entity needs to purchase “new assests” with the capital gain received to avail such an exemption. Investment in ‘computer or computer software’ (as used in core business activity) shall also be considered as purchase of ‘new assets’ in order to promote technology driven Startups.
To promote the growth of Startups and address working capital requirements
Innovation is the essence of every Startup. Young minds kindle new ideas every day to think beyond conventional strategies of the existing corporate world. During the initial years, budding entrepreneurs struggle to evaluate the feasibility of their business idea. Significant capital investment is made in embracing ever-changing technology, fighting rising competition and navigating through the unique challenges arising from their venture. Also, there are limited alternative sources of finance available to the small and growing entrepreneurs, leading to constrained cash funds. With a view to stimulate the development of Startups in India and provide them a competitive platform, it is imperative that the profits of Startup initiatives are exempted from income-tax for a period of 3 years. This fiscal exemption shall facilitate growth of business and meet the working capital requirements during the initial years of operations. The exemption shall be available subject to non-distribution of dividend by the Startup.
To encourage seed-capital investment in Startups
Under The Income Tax Act, 1961, where a Startup (company) receives any consideration for issue of shares which exceeds the Fair Market Value (FMV) of such shares, such excess consideration is taxable in the hands of recipient as Income from Other Sources. In the context of Startups, where the idea is at a conceptualization or development stage, it is often difficult to determine the FMV of such shares. In majority of the cases, FMV is also significantly lower than the value at which the capital investment is made. This results into the tax being levied under section 56(2) (viib).
Currently, investment by venture capital funds in Startups is exempted from operations of this provision. The same shall be extended to investment made by incubators in the Startups.