Congress on Sunday criticised the Centre’s action plan on start-ups a day after its launch as it said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the issue of net neutrality, a “key” component for such businesses, was “deafening”.
Further, with the government announcing the setting up of a Rs 10,000 crore funds for start-ups, the party said that such money should be used “in important social sectors” and not in risky generic venture capital funds.
“It is unfortunate that in the mega show for start-ups that the government held yesterday, the prime minister failed to commit to net neutrality. His silence on this vital issue is deafening,” Congress leader and former union minister Jairam Ramesh.
“In meetings that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held with start-ups across the country, the most important policy requirement expressed by entrepreneurs was for the maintaining of neutrality of the Internet between big business and start-ups,” he said.
The prime minister had on Saturday unveiled a slew of incentives to boost start-ups, including offering them a tax holiday, capital gains tax exemption and a Rs 10,000 crore corpus to fund them.
But in his reaction to the launch of the initiative, Ramesh said that the policy has “many misses”.
The former Union minister further mocked “yet another re-discovery” by Modi of something that Congress “has always recognised”.
Congress is proud that India rose to becoming the “third-largest start-up ecosystem” in the world during its rule, Ramesh said and suggested that the government use taxpayer money in sectors such as agriculture, education and affordable healthcare.
“Further, the government announced a Rs 10,000 crore corpus for generic venture capital funds that anyway attract funds from various sources, including foreign billionaires.
“It is prudent to optimise government funds in important social sectors and not in risky generic venture capital funds,” he added in a statement here.
Net neutrality implies that equal treatment be accorded to all Internet traffic and no priority be given to an entity or company based on payment to content or service providers, such as telecom companies, as that is seen as being discriminatory.