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Maharashtra: The future startup capital of India

Press Trust of India

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Mumbai: Indian Startup ecosystem has undergone a tectonic shift over the past decade. The number of Startups itself have grown seven folds from around 7000 in 2008 to around 50,000 by end – 2018. Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis,TiE Mumbai and KPMG-India recently released two research and recommendation reports titled Maharashtra and the exciting growth of its startup ecosystem and Pune 2.0 The Startup Hub.

India has the 3rd largest startup base globally while Mumbai ranked 7th in terms of growth in VC deals secured in 2015-2017. The report states Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad as emerging Startup hubs in Maharashtra. The total funding raised by Startups in Mumbai and Pune between January 2014 and September 2018 is INR 377 Billion.

Several government initiatives have been in place to drive this Startup growth in the region Maharashta State Innovative Startup Policy 2018, Fintech Policy 2018 and Maharashtra State Innovation Society. Few challenges like high real estate prices, limited availability of tech talent and transportation infrastructure issues were also highlighted in the report. The enablers and drivers for startup growth is attributed to a Supportive ecosystem (investors, incubators etc), huge customer base and the geographic advantage of the region.

 

The report also provided key recommendations for the region, namely skill development and training, policy support and private participation, job creation, infrastructure development and social and employment incentives.

In the foreword of the report, Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, mentioned that in an attempt to nurture entrepreneurship and build an economy that promotes new ideas, the Departments of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched the Maharashtra State Innovative Startup Policy 2018 to drive innovation and provide an enabling environment for Startups. He congratulated TiE Mumbai and KPMG for championing the entrepreneurship cause and that his government will provide full support to make Maharashtra the #1 destination for Startups.

Atul Nishar, President, TiE Mumbai said, At TiE Mumbai, we have a clear goal to make Mumbai the Startup capital of India. Mumbai has the 3rd largest Startup base in India and has ranked 1st in terms of number of Startup registrations in 2018 in India. With strong support from the Government and our thrust in setting up incubation centers, conducting accelerator programs and active mentoring, am sure we will achieve numero uno position in all other parameters.

Pradeep Udhas, Office Managing Partner, West, at KPMG in India said, The Maharashtra government is working towards implementing various initiatives, designed to promote an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.

Pune Startup Landscape Marked by a slew of new launches, early stage investing, acquisitions, mentoring and more Pune is rapidly emerging as one of the Country’s prime startup epicenters. There are 3200 active Startups in Pune as of 2018, with 2% of India’s tech Startups based out of Pune. Large fresh and experienced talent pool, presence of strong IT and ITeS industry and proximity to Mumbai are some key advantages of Pune.

About TiE Mumbai: The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. Since 1999, TiE Mumbai has been supporting entrepreneurs by offering education, mentorship, networking and funding opportunities. The mission of TiE Mumbai is to foster entrepreneurship globally through the 5 pillars of TiE: mentoring, networking and education, funding and incubation. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community. TiE’s focus area is to generate enable the next generation of entrepreneurs. There are currently 11,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 60 chapters across 17 countries.


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RBI asks banks to grout ATMs to wall, floor for security by September-end

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Mumbai: The Reserve Bank asked banks to ensure their ATMs are grouted to a wall, pillar, or floor by September-end, except those installed in high secured premises such as airports, to enhance security of the cash vending machines.

In 2016, the RBI had st up a Committee on Currency Movement (CCM) to review the entire gamut of security of treasure in transit.

Based on the recommendations of the panel, the central bank has now issued instructions aimed at mitigating risks in ATM operations and enhancing security.

 

As part of the security measures, all “ATMs shall be operated for cash replenishment only with digital One Time Combination (OTC) locks”.

Also, “All ATMs shall be grouted to a structure (wall, pillar, floor, etc.) by September 30, 2019, except for ATMs installed in highly secured premises such as airports, etc. which have adequate CCTV coverage and are guarded by state/central security personnel”.

Further, banks may also consider rolling out a comprehensive e-surveillance mechanism at the ATMs to ensure timely alerts and quick response, it said.

The new measures to be adopted by banks are in addition to the existing instructions, practices and guidance issued by the RBI and law enforcement agencies.

The RBI also warned the banks that non-adherence of timelines or non-observance of the instructions would attract regulatory action including levy of penalty.

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SBI refuses to disclose communication from RBI, govt on electoral bonds

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New Delhi: The State Bank of India has refused to disclose any communication it received from the government or the Reserve Bank of India on electoral bonds, terming it “personal information” and held in “fiduciary capacity”.

Responding to an RTI filed by Pune-based activist Vihar Durve who had demanded copies of all letters, correspondence, directions, notifications or e-mails received from the RBI or any government department between 2017 and 2019, the SBI said it cannot be provided by it.

The bank cited two exemption clauses under the RTI Act to deny information — Section 8(1)(e) which pertains to information held in fiduciary capacity and Section 8(1)(J) which pertains to personal information of a person which has no link to any public activity.

 

“Information sought by the applicant cannot be disclosed as it is in fiduciary capacity, disclosure of which is exempted under Section 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005,” the Central Public Information Officer of the bank said in his reply.

The bank also refused to give any details of action taken by it on such communications from the RBI and the government.

The electoral bonds, for giving donations to political parties, are being sold through SBI only. The sale opens in SBI branches when the Finance Ministry issues a notification of their sale for a given period.

The scheme of electoral bonds notified by the Centre in 2018 has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the bonds.

The bonds may be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India “or incorporated or established in India,” the government had said in a statement last year.

The bonds remain valid for 15 days and can be encashed by an eligible political party only through an account with the authorised bank within that period only.

A voluntary group working in the field of electoral reforms, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), has demanded a stay on the sale while the CPI(M) has challenged it before the Supreme Court in separate petitions.

ADR recently filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018 which was notified by the Centre in January last year.

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Walmart’s Flipkart, Indian startup GOQii settle dispute over sharp discounting

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New Delhi: Walmart unit Flipkart has settled a legal dispute with an Indian startup that alleged it suffered losses because its products were sharply discounted on the global retailer’s website.

GOQii, a seller of smartwatch-type health devices, sued Flipkart last month in a Mumbai court, alleging its devices were discounted by around 70 per cent to the retail price, much more than the two sides had agreed. The court had, as an interim measure, ordered device sales to be halted on Flipkart.

In a joint statement , the companies said the dispute had been resolved and GOQii health devices would again be available on Flipkart. They didn’t say how the settlement was reached.

 

Vishal Gondal, CEO of GOQii, told Reuters the company would withdraw the case against Flipkart. The e-commerce retailer’s “team worked on a resolution benefitting the brand and the customers”, Gondal said in the statement.

The legal spat was seen as a test case of the giant retailer’s operating strategy in the country.

Small traders and a right-wing group close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party have raised concerns about large e-commerce companies, saying they burn billions of dollars deeply discounting some products to lure customers onto their sites, in the expectation that they will also buy other goods.

GOQii said it signed an agreement last year with a Flipkart unit to sell two of its devices at a price not below 1,999 rupees (USD 28.63) and 1,499 rupees. It later found the devices were being sold for 999 rupees and 699 rupees, calling it “unauthorized” discounting.

In response, Flipkart said it reserved “the right to institute actions for defamation, both civil and criminal”, arguing it wasn’t responsible for any discounts which are determined by third-party firms which sell via its website.

The two companies struck a friendlier tone in their joint-statement on Friday as they brought the legal battle to an end.

“We have ensured constant engagement with GOQii to resolve any differences,” Flipkart said in the statement.

With a 19 per cent market share, GOQii was the second-biggest player in India’s so-called wearables market last year, data from industry tracker IDC showed. The market is dominated by China’s Xiaomi, with Samsung a small player.

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