The first phase of General Elections in the country has kickstarted. And as people vote to decide the fate of the country – both the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the Opposition party Indian National Congress (INC) have touched upon the cause of startups and technology in their election manifesto.

With both the parties releasing their manifestos earlier this month, here’s a look at what two of India’s biggest political parties are offering for startups and technology advancement in the country.

BJP has said it will create a ‘Seed Startup Fund’ for startups

Funding startups to create more opportunities

The BJP, which calls its manifesto ‘Sankalp Patra’ (pledge document), said that it will continue to create opportunities for India’s youth.

Under the section that addressed upon creating opportunities for India’s youth, the BJP said it will continue to promote and encourage startups through the creation of a ‘Seed Startup Fund’ of Rs 20,000 crore.

The ruling political party has also promised that it will launch a new scheme to provide collateral-free credit of up to Rs 50 lakh for entrepreneurs.

Women’s entrepreneurship – Taking on the cause of women entrepreneurs, the BJP manifesto guarantees 50 percent of the above loan amount to women entrepreneurs.

Further, the party also promised that it will set-up a new ‘Entrepreneurial Northeast’ scheme to provide financial support to the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which will act as an employment generation opportunity in the Northeastern states.

According to the document, more than 17 crore entrepreneurs have availed loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, and the BJP expects to expand this initiative to take the total number of beneficiaries of Mudra loans to up to Rs 30 crore.

On the other hand, though the Congress hasn’t made big promises on the funding side. However, it has said it will allocate sufficient funds to promote science, technology, and innovation in the country.

Congress has also promised to enhance the India Inclusive Innovation Fund to provide funds to innovative enterprises to scale-up and expand their operations, as well as engage with persons at the bottom of the economic pyramid in order to promote innovation at the grassroots.

Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing entrepreneurs in Bengaluru.

The Angel Tax issue

While pegging India to be among the largest startup ecosystem in the world, the BJP has said it will strengthen this ecosystem by easing regulatory requirement for startups, and will ensure that startups don’t spend more than an hour in tax compliances per month.

However, the BJP steered clear of addressing the issue of Angel Tax.

Earlier, in December, it was reported that a group of more than 80 startups gave a formal submission to the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking an abolition of Angel Tax.

However, the Congress, in its manifesto, has said that it will abolish Angel Tax. Just last month, it had organised a session called ‘Conversations with Entrepreneurs’ with its party president Rahul Gandhi in Bengaluru, where he proclaimed that his government will ensure the abolishment of Angel Tax.

The Congress manifesto says, “The Angel Tax imposed on Startups will be withdrawn completely. We will make India an innovation hub.”