Indian On Track To Have One Startup In Every District Within A Year, Says Govt

India is already the third largest startup ecosystem in the world by the number of unicorns, but much of this growth has been centered around the country’s startup hubs. But now the government wants the rest of the country to participate in India’s startup revolution.

The Indian government is likely to achieve its plan of having one registered startup in each of the country’s 785 districts within a year, ET reports. As of March this year, there were more than 100 districts without any registered startups, but this number is now down to just 20-25. The districts without any registered startups are mainly in the North East or in left-wing extremist affected areas of MP, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.

“Our endeavour is to have entrepreneurs and startups in every village of the country,” DPIIT joint secretary Sanjiv told ET. “To begin with, we are working very hard to be present in all districts of the country. The last mile is always very hard, but the team is focused on achieving this.”

“The department has been working with academic institutions, state and district administrations, startup accelerators and seed funds to boost awareness of having startups across the country… The economic activity gets enhanced with startups being launched,” another govt official said.

Until 2023, the states and union territories with the least startups were Lakshadweep (3), Ladakh (9), Sikkim (10), Mizoram (22) and Arunachal Pradesh (32). In comparison, the highest number of startups are in Maharashtra (18,634), Karnataka (10,874) and Delhi (10,840).

The government has been recognizing startups on a war footing since the launch of the Startup India scheme in. Eligible startups get a host of benefits, including exemption from income tax for a consecutive period of 3 years out of the first 10 years of incorporation, exemptions from experience requirements in government contracts, and fast tracking of patent applications. The government also invests in startups through a fund of funds structure. It had committed Rs. 7,385 crore toward startup investments by 2022, which has been put into 720 startups. Many of these startups have become unicorns, including Unacademy, Uniphore, Curefit and Zetwerk, and others have been valued at hundreds of millions of dollars including Dunzo, FreshToHome, Vogo and others.

And India’s startups have collectively created millions of jobs, boosted exports, and attracted billions of dollars of investment into the country. The government had realized their potential early, and has been trying to help their progress along. And with every district in India to have a registered startup soon, India’s startup story could end up touching even more lives than before.