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If You’re A Young Entrepreneur, These Govt Schemes Will Help Your Startup Grow

According to an article by The Guardian in 2018, more than 50% of the population of India is below 25 years of age. With one of the largest cohorts of youth, their growing demand for quality education and employment has put the state in worry as job creations have not kept pace with their growing demand. Both the public as well as private sector can feel this brunt as hundreds and thousands of candidates apply for a small number of openings or vacancies, leading to a rise in competition to get the job. Although the youth of today is heavily aided by online learning portals such as Testbook, Vedantu, BYJU’s, Unacademy and so on, the competition just doesn’t seem to lighten.

The Government of India has realised that the only way to solve this problem is by encouraging the growth of entrepreneurship and opening of new businesses, which can cater to the employment needs of a large number of eligible youngsters. And keeping this in mind, the state has launched multiple programmes and schemes in the recent past to encourage young individuals to develop entrepreneurship skills along with creating an environment of innovation.

Given below are some of the schemes launched by the Government of India to boost the growth and number of young startups in urban as well as in rural areas.

Atal Innovation Mission

Launched as a flagship initiative by the NITI Aayog in 2015 and named after our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Atal Innovation Mission focuses on encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation among youth all over india. The policy works parallely with the central and state governments in order to formulate streamlined policies on innovation that align with building and promoting an ecosystem for entrepreneuring growth and incentivising innovation at various levels of education such as high secondary school, institutions of higher education, MSMEs, NGOs and more.

This programme provides a platform to academic students to participate in research work and innovation, along with gaining experience to become a successful entrepreneur. The initial allocation by the Government of India for Atal Innovation Mission was Rs 150 crores.

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana

The scheme was launched on April 8, 2015, by PM Modi to offer loans to small scale or micro enterprises. The loans are offered through regional rural banks, commercial and small finance banks, and NBFCs. It comprises three brackets under which loans are provided to the borrower, namely: Shishu (upto Rs 50,000), Kishore (upto Rs 5 lakhs) and Tarun (upto Rs 10 lakhs). This is to designate the ongoing stage of development of the enterprise and the financial needs of the entrepreneur. Through this scheme, any young student or entrepreneur can approach the above mentioned intuitions or apply for a loan online.

Aspire

A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural industries and Entrepreneurship, or ASPIRE, was launched in the year 2015 by the Ministry of MSME in order to build a network of technology and incubation centres to speed up entrepreneurship along with the promotion of innovation and facilitating setting up of more startups in the agro-based industries.

One major objective of this programme is to reduce unemployment by creating new jobs for young graduates, strengthening the culture of entrepreneurship across India and promotion of innovation and competition in MSMEs. It achieves these objectives by implementation of commercial ideas forwarded by research institutes in the field of agro industry.

Startup India Scheme

Under this initiative, eligible companies can apply to be recognised as startups by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. Through this, they can receive tax benefits and other additional perks such as easier norms for public procurement, speedy IPR, patent process and more. Launched in 2015, Startup India is based on the idea to increase employment and wealth by encouraging young entrepreneurs to take a step forward to keep their entrepreneurial spirit alive.

Startups aged less than 10 years from the date of incorporation and in any way working in the direction of development of products or services, with the potential of generating jobs and wealth, can apply under this scheme to avail the abovementioned benefits.

Ebiz Programme

A government-to-business electronic portal developed by Infosys Technologies Limited, the scheme has been developed in a private-public partnership with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This online portal will improve the accessibility of the government-to-business services and minimise delays caused during regulatory processes that are mandatory for incorporation and running of a business.

The Ebiz portal will act as a one-stop gateway for availing services as well as allowing transaction of payments. This portal will play a key role in improving the ease of doing business in India, which could be very beneficial for the youth thinking about starting a business.

Support for International Patent protection in Electronics and Information Technology (SIP-EIT)

Most of the emerging startups in India are facing a major crisis nationally and globally when it comes to protecting their intellectual property because of the high cost pertaining to the patent filing process and intellectual property rights protection. This is the reason why only a few Indian companies are able to compete at global level, as it is not possible for a small company to be able to afford the cost involved in international patent filing. Even though IPR filing at the national level has increased in rate, very few small and medium enterprises from Information and Communication Technology in Education are able to apply for it.

Likewise, at the international level, the number of application filing from Indian companies are very less as compared to those from other major countries. In order to mitigate this problem, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) initiated the SIP-EIT scheme to help startups as well as MSMEs in Electronics and Information technology by offering them financial support for protecting their innovations and bolstering their competitiveness. It provides reimbursement of upto Rs 15 lakhs for every invention or half of the expenses incurred during the patent filing process.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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