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Meet The Policy Makers In Charge Of Nurturing India’s Startup Ecosystem

Meet The Policy Makers In Charge Of Nurturing India’s Startup Ecosystem

Startups are looking to Modi 2.0 to fix streamline the framework for doing business

Angel tax and GST compliance remain big issues for founders

Piyush Goyal will head the ministry of commerce, while Ravi Shankar Prasad will head the telecom ministry

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) thumping win in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections means that Narendra Modi will be India’s Prime Minister for a second term. Riding on a groundswell of rural support, not only did the BJP manage to secure a single-party majority, it also managed to improve its standing compared to the last election.

However, along with the sweeping win came the massive expectations from the startup ecosystem. Startup founders and VC are clamouring for a simplified tax structure, improved bureaucracy and more state investment in startups, according to the Inc42 survey which sought the expectations of the startup ecosystem

Startups have also called for better support from government’s Invest India and Startup India programmes. There are a slew of infrastructural and regulatory issues as well, which need to be addressed immediately.  

So here are the Modi 2.0 cabinet members who will be leading the decisions around policy and regulations for startups at the central level for the next five years:

Piyush Goyal –  Minister of Railways; Minister of Commerce and Industry

Piyush Goyal, who was a chartered accountant before joining politics, is known to be a key part of the BJP’s economic planning team and is also the de facto treasurer for the party. Goyal was given the finance portfolio in May last year which he held till August, while former FM Arun Jaitley was recuperating from an ailment.

The 54-year old will be filling the shoes of the outgoing minister Suresh Prabhu, a major promoter and evangelist of the Indian startup ecosystem. During his time Prabhu led the government’s efforts for startups across many states through reforms and incentives. Committed to the cause of Indian entrepreneurs till the end of his tenure, Prabhu acted quickly to address the Twitter storm by startups demanding justice against the angel tax issue

Ravi Shankar Prasad – Minister of Law and Justice; Minister of Communications; Minister of Electronics and Information Technology

In his second innings as telecom minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, 64, has hit the ground running. A day after his swearing in, Prasad said that for this term, he would focus mainly on taking the data protection bill to the Parliament and also notify the proposed amendments to the intermediary guidelines.

During his last term, India became the second largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world in 2019 and he is also credited for overseeing the most successful spectrum auction in India that fetched INR 1.10 Lakh Cr of revenue.

Mahendra Nath Pandey – Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Known for his keen interest in chess, Mahendra Nath Pandey has been appointed as the union minister for skill development after his role in BJP’s UP campaign ahead of the crucial general elections.

While this is the first time that Pandey has been appointed to the cabinet, he served as a Union Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry of Human Resource Development between 2016 and 2017.

Nirmala Sitharaman – Minister of Finance; Minister of Corporate Affairs

Nirmala Sitharaman’s long and illustrious career continues to grow stronger by the day. While Jaitley’s ailing health may have been one of the factors in her ascendency to the ministry of finance, her stint as defence minister and commerce minister will surely come in handy now. Considered the number two post in the cabinet, Sitharaman has accepted a hard challenge. She will now have to contend with a slowing economy, lacklustre delivery on the promises of economic growth by the previous Modi government and flagging investor interest.

Harsh Vardhan –  Minister of Health and Family Welfare; Minister of Science and Technology; Minister of Earth Sciences

Perhaps one of the more controversial choices for the cabinet, Harsh Vardhan has been in the news for his unconventional views on scientific principles.

In the Indian Science Congress in 2018, Vardhan claimed that renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking said the Vedas have a theory that is superior to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

For this remark, he had faced criticism from the scientific community, not just in India. One of the more intriguing stories from these cabinet appointments is if indeed such quack science will enter the policy-making for the ministry.

Prakash Javadekar –  Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Minister of Information and Broadcasting

Prakash Javadekar, the I&B minister, took up the cause of press freedom after the swearing-in ceremony on Friday (May 31). The 68-year-old, also has the charge of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Ministry, and held several portfolios in the first Narendra Mod-led UPA government.

To find out what startups are expecting from the second Modi-led government, you can read Inc42’s survey of startup expectations from the new government here.