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Startup India has become vehicle to garner publicity for PM: Kharge

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge speaks during a protest of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) at Jantar Mantar

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (File image)

New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged on Tuesday that the Narendra Modi government is only drum-beating about the National Startup Day and that "Startup India" has become a vehicle to garner publicity for the prime minister as it has fallen short on delivery.

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He also asked the government why has it not provided tax benefits to 97.5 per cent of the recognised startups in the country.

"The Modi government is drumbeating and telling us to celebrate National Start Up Day. But our startup entrepreneurs, creative people and our jobless young have been pushed to the wall, since the launch of 'Startup India' in 2016 by PM Modi," Kharge said in a post on X.

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He said the Congress wants to ask three direct questions -- "The BJP promised Rs 20,000 crore for Startup Seed Fund in its 2019 manifesto. What happened to that? Reality: They have approved a pittance of Rs 525.27 crore for it, that also for a 4-year period starting 2021-22." "Is it true that 1,00,000 people have lost jobs in startups in the last two years alone? We are not even counting the COVID-19 lockdown impact on them. No wonder the funding of startups is now the lowest in 5 years," the Congress chief said.

He also asked why the government has not provided tax benefits to 97.5 per cent of the recognised startups in the country.

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"A meagre 2,975 recognised startups have been provided any kind of tax holiday by the Government of India, despite promising it, in virtually every Budget.

"Startup India has only become a vehicle to garner publicity for PM, for it miserably falls short on delivery," Kharge said on the microblogging platform, using a picture that reads "Modi government's StartUp India remains a non-starter".

The Startup India initiative was launched by Prime Minister Modi on January 16, 2016 to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation, boosting startups and encouraging investments in the country's startup ecosystem.

Modi had declared January 16 as the National Startup Day.

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