State-run oil companies will soon create a start-up fund to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, minister for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said at the Natural Gas Vision 2025 conference organized by Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) in New Delhi on March 22.
“Indian intellectual capacity is contributing immensely to the global oil and gas economy. We would like the Indian energy market too to benefit from that capacity,” Pradhan said. The oil minister said that he had already instructed state-owned oil and gas companies to set aside a fund for promoting innovation in the sector. The corpus of the fund is yet to be decided by the companies.
“Any start-up needing hand-holding can seek support from the fund. Public sector companies will independently evaluate the commercial viability of the project and take a decision on their equity participation,” Pradhan added.
This move is in keeping with the support and enthusiasm already shown by the Modi Government for the start-up sector. Hailed as India’s new sunshine sector, a recent report published by NASSCOM said that the startup ecosystem is expected to create 80,000 jobs in the next few years.
This fund once operational is expected to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in the hydrocarbon sector that depends heavily on exploration.
Keeping with the government’s states intent to promote start-ups, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an action plan on January 16. These include setting up a dedicated Rs.10,000 crore fund, income-tax exemption for the first three years, and a simple setting up and exit policy for start-ups.