The National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) has asked startupindia.in to cancel its domain name since it is “misleading and is in violation with the Startup India program.” As reported by moneycontrol.com, the demand has been made on request from India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The DIPP under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is responsible for implementing the Startup India programme of the Government of India, launched by the Prime Minister in January 2016 with great fanfare.
The domain StartupIndia.in belongs to a startup company bearing the name Startup India Advisory Services Pvt Ltd. It is a startup advisory service provider to tech based entrepreneurs. The website was registered in 2014, nearly two years before the Government launched its programme. The company was incorporated in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in July 2015. As per information available on the internet, the south-Delhi based company has Yatin Thakur and Karun Kumar as its directors. It had recently partnered with non-profit organisation Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center to launch its Milestone Makers India program, where about 25 startup entrepreneurs are being mentored.
It may be noted that the website for the Government’s Startup India initiative is startupindia.gov.in. Although the name of the website of the startup bears similarity to the Government’s website, it was registered much earlier. It is believed that in case the owner of the domain wishes, the request can be contested in a court of law. What may be in favour of the domain registrant is that the domain was registered much before the Startup India programme.
Meanwhile, the website has put up the following disclaimer on its homepage: StartupIndia.in is a website of Startup India Advisory Services Private Limited which is a private initiative to support Entrepreneurship and does not have any association with Government. In case you are looking for information on the government of India’s Startup India action plan please refer to startupindia.gov.in.
NIXI is the neutral meeting point of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in India. Its main purpose is to facilitate exchange of domestic internet traffic between the ISP members. Government of India has authorized NIXI as .IN Registry since January 2005 and .IN domain names are available to anyone on first-come-first-served basis. Government of India has also endorsed the operations of National Internet Registry (NIR) to NIXI. NIR is entrusted with the task of coordinating IP address allocation with other Internet resource management function at national level in the country.