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9 incentives that digital start-ups need: IAMAI

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MUMBAI: To recognise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Digital India,’ the industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has come up with specific fiscal and non-fiscal measures that India’s Internet scene requires. According to the association, the digital start-up ecosystem in India should be systematically encouraged by focusing on specific fiscal interventions.

 

The suggestions are as follows: 

 

1) Improve Investment Environment: India's entrepreneurs need early stage venture capital, which is why the domestic venture capital sector needs to develop further. In the US, the VC industry took off when their government allowed the large pension funds to put 5-10 per cent of their assets into VC firms.

 

2) Angel Tax: Angel Tax under Sec 56 (2) of the Income Tax Act has not been tailored to restrict start-up funding but it has put start-ups under the the Income Tax scanner, questioning the valuation by domestic individual investors. The criteria to qualify as an angel fund are stringent and need to be eased to support the start-up ecosystem in the country. The association suggests that there should be tax breaks and incentives for individuals supporting start-ups with capital.

 

3) Incentivize Internet services start-ups: Internet services based start-ups form the bulk of internet companies in India. Comprising aggregators, digital advertisers and online classifieds, bring in a lot of efficiency, and are the largest employment generators. They are either enabling businesses, or they are creating lot of employment in the country, resulting in many people are earning a lot of money than they should otherwise have.

 

4) Service Tax: Start-ups end up paying a huge amount over the first three years in way of service tax. Survival then takes a back seat and penalties just make a struggling start-up's life harder. The association recommends that for the first three years, the service tax could be waived off or incentivizes the start-ups, if they pay their service taxes on time.

 

5) Streamline taxation for e-commerce: Online marketplaces are changing the way businesses are done in India. Small players are setting up niche businesses in India and are attracting lot of investments in India. Online marketplaces bring in a lot of efficiency in the entire retail value chain from customer experience to payments and delivery.

 

6) Taxes on e-commerce transactions: The e-commerce marketplace industry is being subjected to onerous VAT demands from several states. They should be recognised as marketplaces and exempt from VAT demands in states. As market places they provide a service to online sellers and pay the service tax on that account. The State of Rajasthan for example treats e-commerce players as market places.

 

7) Boost FinTech Start-ups: FinTech plays a significant role in serving those underserved or not served by formal institutional mechanisms. They are also likely to play a significant role in various financial inclusion programmes of the government. Various forms of FinTech services such as pre-paid instruments, wallets and others create efficiency, transparency and wider reach in financial transaction.

 

8) P2P lending and crowd-funding need contribution from government: While some early inroads have been made in the P2P lending segment in the country, individual efforts have not translated into a policy from the government. The lack of clarity of rules and regulations has meant the industry is shooting in the dark. In the absence of dictated policy or scriptures, it is quite plausible that misguided individuals may fall prey to unscrupulous operators that may look to make a quick buck.

 

9) Easy KYC through Aadhar: This will allow innovators to build new services, which in turn will help bring more people under the ambit of financial services. Various forms of digital payments such as pre-paid instruments, wallets and others create efficiency, transparency and wider reach in financial transaction.

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