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Union Budget 2019 – Startups Get Major Advantages

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The Union Budget of India is mostly about giving us an insight into how the government decides to spend public funds for the overall development of the Country. 

India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented her maiden budget to the Parliament on Friday and walked us through the various plans which may take India’s economy to $ 5 trillion by 2025. 

The Indian startup ecosystem felt, the Interim Budget, which was helmed by Piyush Goyal in February, had overlooked their problems. 

However, giving a major boost to thousands of startups across the Country, the Narendra Modi led Government announced a list of measures the Government is going to take to “release the entrepreneurial spirit” in the Country.

Keep reading to find out what the Budget for new India has in store for business heads and startup founders.

 

Budget 2019 highlights for startups

1) The Modi Government will soon launch a TV program exclusively for the startups in India, which will air on the Doordarshan channel.  This program will serve as a medium through which emerging startups could meet venture capitalists and investors.  This TV program will be directed, executed and run by startups themselves.

 

2) The Startup India Scheme, which was launched in 2016 to support entrepreneurship among women and marginal segments of the society by providing them financial assistance, has produced more than 300 entrepreneurs as of today.  Mrs. Sitharaman said, this scheme will continue till 2025. This can prove to be a major boost for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

3) A reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Income Tax for electric vehicle (EV) makers and owners has been proposed in the Parliament.  This move could prove to be profitable for EV startups in the Country.

 

4) Sitharaman announced, startups will no longer be under the scrutiny of Angel Tax.  Angel tax is applicable to startups which have raised their capital by selling shares above the market value.  This excess capital is considered as income and taxed accordingly, a move which was started in 2012. The waiver of angel tax could be a huge relief for startup owners.

 

5) The Finance Minister proposed a 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) to insurance intermediaries.  The FDI limit is currently 49 %. Apart from this, the Government also announced 100 % FDI in single brand retail startups.  Startups like PepperFry and UrbanLadder, which operate single brand stores, will benefit from this move.

 

6) The Government will also establish around 100 business incubators—80 for livelihood businesses and 20 for tech, in the financial year 2019-20.  According to the Government, this will help create up to 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs.

 

7) Businesses with an annual turnover below Rs. 5 crores can file quarterly GST returns, said Sitharaman. 

 

Apart from all this, the several measures announced for labour laws, rental segment and education can have an indirect impact on the startups of our Country.  With so many incentives announced to boost the Indian startup ecosystem, we may see a substantial growth in Indian startups.

What is your opinion about Union Budget 2019?  Comment below and let us know. 

 

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Facebook Reveals Details Of Its Cryptocurrency Libra

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On the 18th of June, Facebook revealed details of its brand new cryptocurrency called Libra.  An alternative to cash, this cryptocoin can be used to buy things or send money to people with close to no fees.  The cryptocurrency is going to be launched by an association called The Libra Association, which consists of a group of companies interested in getting Libra out into the world.

You can use Libra to buy or cash out your Libra at local stores like grocery stores and through third party wallet apps.  To make using Libra an easier task, Facebook owned Calibra Wallet will be built into WhatsApp and Messenger, thereby simplifying transaction processes.  Although certain countries have banned the use of cryptocurrencies, Facebook is trying to break new ground with the launch of Libra.

While Facebook is launching Libra, the social media giant is not going to be in complete control of the cryptocoin.  The coin will be controlled by a consortium consisting of its founding members, Visa, Uber and Andreessen Horowitz. The three companies have invested at least $ 10 million each into the creation of this cryptocurrency.

Customers interested in holding or transferring the newly acquired token will be given multiple options to do what they wish.  To further simplify matters, Facebook will let customers access transactions through this cryptocurrency via a special app designed for iOS and Android.

To protect the identity of its users while making transactions through the new app, Facebook won’t require you to share personal details.  “The advent of the internet and mobile broadband has empowered billions of people globally to have access to the world’s knowledge and information, high fidelity communication, and a wide range of lowercost, more convenient services,” the Libra Association said in a paper announcing the cryptocurrency.

Libra will be made available to the world during the first half of 2020.  As of now, Facebook is focusing on building relationships in international waters.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Facebook Invests In Indian Startup Meesho

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On the 13th of June, social media giant Facebook announced, it invested an undisclosed amount in Indian startup Meesho.

A Bengaluru based startup, Meesho works with resellers and emerging brands using social media.  This is the first time Facebook invested in a startup based in India. Through this investment, Facebook aims to increase its commitment to the Country’s vibrant internet ecosystem.

“Facebook is an ally for India’s economic growth and social development. We are excited about India and its rapidly rising Internet ecosystem. With this investment in Meesho, we want to fuel a business model that can result in rapid job creation and the rise of a female entrepreneurial class in India,” Ajit Mohan, the Managing Director of Facebook India, said in a statement.

It was two primary factors which made Facebook invest in Meesho.  The first reason was how the startup is growing outside the Tier II and III cities, where new users are present.  The second reason is, Meesho has a larger user base, 80 % of which are women.

So far, Meesho has raised $ 50 million from a Series C funding round in November last year.  According to industry reports, the startup helps people using its service earn close to Rs. 25,000 every month!  With WhatsApp playing a crucial role in the app’s growth, it comes as an added blessing that Facebook invested in this particular startup.

Through investments like these, Facebook is capitalizing on the social media boom happening in India.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Uber Partners With Bajaj Auto

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On the 13th of June, cab aggregator service Uber announced the launch of quadricycles, a new way of transport for its users.  Launched in partnership with Bajaj Autos, this new service is known as Bajaj Qute and will be available as a part of a new category on the Uber app, UberXS.

The new category was launched only in India-South Asia region.  Bajaj Qute is now available on the roads of Bengaluru, Karnataka.  The app will let users book UberXS from the 13th of June in places like Indiranagar, Koramangala, HSR Layout and parts of Outer Ring Road.

As per reports from Uber, the Qute will come in two versions: CNG and petrol.  All the vehicles coming as a part of UberXS rides will be powered by the CNG fuel option, which is aimed at reducing pollution.  Furthermore, this service provides a mileage of 43km/kg and will be extremely affordable.

The Qute automobiles was first launched in February this year by Bajaj Auto.  From the moment it launched, the service was well received in places across South India.  Coming in the form of a four seater with one seat for the driver, the Bajaj Qute is aimed at reducing the pollution in an already polluted world.  With a turning radius of 3.5 meters, this service has already made Uber quite popular.

Speaking about the partnership, Samardeep Subandh, Senior VP, Bajaj Auto, said: “Bajaj Qute is the first quadricycle in India. It will prove to be an ideal solution for the mobility challenges of congestion and pollution arising from rapid urbanisation. Launched in both CNG and Petrol variant, the Qute is powered by a lightweight 216 CC four-valve water-cooled DTSi engine with closed loop fuel injection system resulting in higher fuel efficiency.”

This is not the first time Uber formed a partnership like this.  Previously, the cab service Company also partnered with Yulu in Bengaluru to provide e bikes for people travelling short distances.

The new service is going to be available all over India soon as Uber is rolling out this service in phases.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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