Saturday, December 9

LIC, Pension Funds Must Step in To Fund Startups: DIPP Secretary

Life Insurance Corporation of India and other pension funds “must step in” to fund startups, Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek said on Friday. “LIC and other pension funds must step in… definitely that money needs to be leveraged,” Abhishek said here at the India Economic Summit, jointly organised by CII and WEF.

Speaking at a session on startups, founder of Pinstorm and Seedfund Mahesh Murthy stated that big companies like LIC and cigarette firms are found wanting as far as funding of start-ups is concerned.

“I am taking note (of this suggestion),” Abhishek said, adding that the government is engaging with start-ups to resolve issues to give a push to budding entrepreneurs.

On the Rs 10,000-crore Fund of Funds, the secretary said it would mobilise about Rs 50,000 crore private investments in start-ups over a period of time. SIDBI is implementing the Fund of Funds.

“It has started implementation, we want to fast-track it, processes are rather slow, we are figuring it out,” he added.

About e-pharmacy firms, Abhishek felt that they are not flouting any law, contrary to the police’s claims. “Police inspectors are not very trained in such matters. Now, we are trying to take up this matter with states and… make sure it does not happen,” he said.

Citing an example, Abhishek said, the number of taxis in one city has been capped at 32,000 because of “some vested interest” as one can cap the prices through this.

“So, we need to free up all these things… our laws and regulations are completely out of sync in most cases. With these new technologies and innovations coming in, we need to change that and we are working with regulators,” he added. DIPP has identified some 25 problems of start-ups and is sensitising departments and ministries on these.

Founder of Paytm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma pointed to the need of large Indian companies to fund startups. “We do not have that inspiration. We have to have Indian investors. Why are we not playing a big bet? We do not get support from local companies,” he said.

Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, felt that capital is not a big issue, but there are constraints at local levels.