Assam state-run Oil India Ltd has announced a Rs 50 crore OIL startup fund which it claims would foster, nurture and incubate new ideas related to oil and gas sector. Ironically, there are literally no startup across India — forget about Assam– that is working in oil and gas sector. In spite of this fact, the proposal for setting up the OIL Start-up fund was approved in the company board on September 30 which is said to be in line with Centre government’s flagship program ‘Startup India’.

This announcement of “OIL startup fund” by Oil India Ltd, which is run by Assam state government, comes almost a month after announcement by ONGC, which is run by central government, launched a Rs 100 crore Start-up fund on its Diamond Jubilee year, which the oil company too claims that it would – “foster, nurture and incubate new ideas related to oil and gas sector”.

The fact however remains the same that there are not a single startup in India that is working on ideas related to oil & gas sector or related businesses. In fact, there are not a single oil & gas related company, startup or business run by private individual/group or non-government organization in India beside ofcourse Reliance industries Limited which is infact run by India’s richest man.

Now, the point is that what is the purpose and need of such startup funds in India when there are no startup to fund even at seed stage.

Utpal Bora, Chairman and Managing Director, of Oil India Ltd said that the OIL Start-up fund shall focus on promoting entrepreneurship amongst youth, especially of the North East India, by enabling the growth of startups for addressing various technical challenges and operational risks of the oil and gas industry and encouraging innovative thinking amongst the present and future generations.

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Having said that by ONGC and OIL officials it would be it would be interesting to see if these oil companies can actually fund any startup in this space or they just are towing in line with the much over-hyped ‘Start-up India’ campaign.

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