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Modi government launches IAF and SMILE to give big boost to startups

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Mumbai: On Tuesday, Modi government launched the India Aspiration Fund (IAF) that will give a big boost to startup initiatives across the country. The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitely, launched the IAF under the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) that will act as a fund of the funds.

Photo Credit: http://www.livemint.com
Photo Credit: http://www.livemint.com

The government has already set aside an initial corpus of Rs 400 crore to various venture funds under it, according to a report published in Economic Times.

The IAF is supposed to have committed around Rs 60 Crore, Rs 30 Crore, and Rs 20 Crore to IvyCap Ventures, Blume Ventures, and Carpediem Capital Partners respectively.

ET report quotes Arun Jaitely as saying: “India is witnessing a startup revolution and to harness the potential of India’s innovators and entrepreneurs a vibrant financial ecosystem is essential. IAF will play a vital role in this financial ecosystem.”

As the IAF fund follows sectoral allocation of funds, it is likely to provide a big boost in the form of investment to even those sectors that are not hot today for venture funds.

Arun Jaitely also launched SMILE, the “SIDBI Make in India Loan for Small Enterprises” scheme with an allocation of around Rs 10,000 crore. The scheme aims to provide soft loans as well as term loans on relatively soft terms to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), according to the ET report.

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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

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An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)