The Modi government, since taking over reigns from the UPA-II government in May 2014, has been quite upfront and vocal about its vision for the Indian Startup industry. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself spoken about the importance and the potential the sector holds for the youth of the nation and how it can play a major role in solving the long-present social evil of unemployment in the country. If you have been a keen follower of the Modi government's work since last two years, you would have most certainly come across his government's pet project of giving the country a digital makeover through the Digital India Campaign.

Being coordinated jointly by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and various Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments, the program, if implemented systemically, holds the potential of transforming India for good, and maybe even help it in making the long-awaited transition from a developing to a developed country.

The government's vision of the Digital India Programme is focused on looking after three main areas

1) Giving each citizen the utility of advanced Digital Infrastructure

2) Making Governance and Services available to the citizens on Demand

3) Advanced Digital Empowerment of each and every Citizen, irrespective of caste, class and location

One of the main ways through which the government is trying to address the aforementioned three key areas and Digitise India is by encouraging digital entrepreneurship through its Startup Action Plan.

Seeing the government's enthusiasm towards the initiative, the youth of the country is gearing up to chase their entrepreneurial dreams and make them a success both for themselves and their country. But, a major problem that they have to suffer from while starting up their dream projects is learning about the procedure to legally register their startups under the government's Digital India campaign. If you're also one of those entrepreneurial spirits who is suffering from this very conundrum, we have got you covered.

To begin with, we need to first revise what qualifies as a ‘Start-up’ in the eyes of the Indian Government.

According to the Indian government, any Legal entity will be identified as a startup till up to 5 years from the date of its incorporation. Further, its turnover shouldn't exceed the 25 crores figure in the last 5 financial years. Lastly, the entity should be focused towards development, innovation, deployment, and commercialisation of new products, processes, or services driven by intellectual property or technology.

Now, coming to the procedure to register the startup under Digital India, it ain't that much of a task. The 3 steps procedure is as follows:

  1. The official notification of the Government of India states that the startups need to register themselves as a Legal entity, Limited Liability Partnership or as a Private limited company.

  2. Once that's done, the next step is to register the startup through the official portal of DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) or through the Digital India portal/ MyGov Mobile App.

  3. Finally, the last step involves submitting any one of the documents mentioned below in the list along with the application:

    • A letter of support funded incubator to promote innovation from any central/state government.

    • A letter of funding of not less than 20% in equity by any angel fund/PE fund/accelerator or incubation or a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) registered angel network that duly endorses its innovative nature of business.

    • A patent which is filed and duly published in the Journal by the Indian Patent Office in areas related to the nature of the promoted business.

    • A recommendation letter from an incubator established in an Indian post-graduate college in a DIPP prescribed format.

    • A recommendation letter from any Central government incubator stating the innovative nature of the promoted businesses in a DIPP specified format.

    • A letter of funding by the State or Central government as part of any scheme to encourage innovation.

Once the startup submits the application along with any of the above mentioned documents, a unique recognition number is generated and assigned to the startup. But, here's the catch, one needs to make sure that the application form is duly filled and all the required documents are submitted with it, because if any of the documents are found missing or forged, the startup will have to pay a fine. The fine constitutes 50% of the paid-up capital of the business and shall not be less than Rs. 25,000.

If a startup diligently follows the aforementioned 3 steps, they can easily get the whole process completed in a single day. The Narendra Modi government has really helped in smoothing out the whole procedure by doing away with tons of paperwork and making everything digital through the DIPP platform and the Digital India portal/MyGov Mobile App.

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