A Delhi-based startup entrepreneur was shocked to receive an email by the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) seeking the cancellation of his company's domain by the name of “Startupindia.in”. In the email sent on May 29th, NIXI demands the cancellation of the domain as it is "misleading and is in violation with the Startup India program.”

The interesting thing to note here is that the Delhi entrepreneur registered the “Startupindia.in” domain long ago in February 2014, which is about two years before the Modi government launched its ambitious ‘Startup India’ program and months before the Modi government even came in power. Reportedly, NIXI has sent the email on request from Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

The government is currently using the "startupindia.gov.in" for its Startup India initiative. It seems with both similar looking domains in business, the government's initiative isn't receiving the kind of response it was expecting and the DIPP has narrowed down the similar looking domain as one of the main problem. However, it isn't yet clear how the domain is in "violation with the Startup India program" as it was started way before the government initiative came into picture.

The ‘StartupIndia.in’ website belongs to Startup India Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, a company incorporated in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in July 2015. The company, which provides advisory services to tech based entrepreneurs has now even put up a disclaimer on the website stating that it has no relation whatsoever with the Indian government's Startup India initiative.

According to several experts, the only way forward to the Delhi entrepreneur is to fight it out in court as there is no government rule or regulation that nobody can have startupindia.in domain. But, according to Moneycontrol, a source inside NIXI has informed them that if the government wants a particular domain, the registrant is bound to do away with it.

The issue also brings to light the reservation of rights for the .IN registry, which was launched in January 2005 as an autonomous body. This particular matter might encourage Indian entrepreneurs to book less of ‘.in’ domains.

Quite interestingly, the Delhi-based Startup India Advisory Pvt Ltd had partnered with non-profit organisation Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center last month and launched its Milestone Makers India program, where about 25 startup entrepreneurs are being mentored currently.

The StartupIndia.in domain is not the only domain bearing resemblance to the government's initiative. There's one called "StartupIndia.org", which has been registered in the name of one Narasimhan Kasthurirengan, with his address at Cupertino, California dated February, 2011. Another one belongs to another Delhi-based organisation called "startup-india.org", which helps entrepreneurs in launching and scaling their social innovation ventures. Whether they have received any such domain cancelling email from NIXI is still unclear.

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