Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Start-Up India and Its Problems
The Start-up India, Stand-Up India campaign was initiated by the government last year with the intention of providing handholding support to upcoming ventures, promoting entrepreneurship, offering financial support and also allowing tax breaks.
Provisions of Start-up India
Certain essential features of the Start-up India campaign are:
Government funded corpus worth Rs. 10,000 crores.
Credit Guarantee Corpus of Rs. 500 crores per annum to be used for four years.
Mobile Application for registration of start-up ventures.
Tax exemptions under the Income-tax Act, 1961.
Self certified labour compliance and exemption from labour inspections.
Award for incubators supporting the start-ups.
Provisions of Stand-up India
Composite Loan between Rs. 10 Lakhs and Rs. 100 Lakhs
Loan available for SC/ST and women entrepreneurs above 18 years of age.
Loan available for green field projects only.
Enterprise whether in the manufacturing, trading or service sector is eligible for the loan.
As the programme enters its second year of operation, not much progress has been seen. Very few start-ups have become a part of the plan and government is also struggling with the basic design issues. As a result, the government is facing the following challenges:
Problems related to Venture Capitals
Venture capitalists (VC) were supposed to receive funding from Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) managed corpus of Rs10,000 crores. However, no money has been disbursed under this plan even though SIDBI has already sanctioned money. This is because, in the funding so provided, the bank only puts in 15% of the total corpus and the balance is to be contributed by the VC itself. In such a scenario, where the VCs are failing to raise funds the entire programme is suffering to take off.
Under the programme the government had initially stated that VCs could only early-stage start-ups. This restricted the investment options of VCs. Subsequent lack of interest by the VCs led to alteration of rules under the programme.
Another challenge that the VCs faced was the mandatory registration of participating investors with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Since many VCs are not registered, this led to them being barred from being a part of this scheme.
Problems related to Start-ups
Access to the Scheme
As a result of the eligibility criteria the access to the start up India programme is complicated to such an access that the government received only about 1,368 applications and out of these, only 502 were recognized as start-ups.
Tax Benefit Availability
Even tax benefit access is complicated and as a result only eight start-ups have been granted tax benefits under the scheme. Further, the provisions for allowing tax benefits assume that the enterprise will be profitable within three years of operation. Hence, the tax benefit ended up being redundant because there were no profits in such a short span on which the start-ups could avail these benefits.
Industry-academia partnerships through new incubators could have been a huge boost for the start up India programme. However, the lack of sufficient incubators has also been another hurdle in the way of success of this programme. Only recently, established incubators have been selected to receive government funding to scale up operations.
The government now needs to ensure that it provides an enabling environment to the start-ups rather than treating it like an infant industry. Government needs to move towards rationalising its approach. Government funds can only short-circuit the process.
There is no doubt that such large scale programmes do take time to come up with the expected results but it has to be ensured that all efforts to push the programmes are on track and stay viable. For this to happen, all stakeholders need to come together and put in the required efforts. The entire burden cannot be put on the government. The private sector, the research and development organisations also need to step in.
Connecting the dots
Discuss the provisions and objectives of the Start-up India Programme. Critically analyse the performance of this programme since its inception.
General Studies 1
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectorsand issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Jallikattu and the debate surrounding it
The ancient sport of Jallikattu finds mention in Sangam Literature, nearly 2000 years ago, in a text called Kalithokai, where five long poems (approx. 300 lines) provide its elaborate description.
The Kalithokai poems depicted the mood of carnival where young men ‘embraced the bull’ (‘eru thazhuvuthal’) and tamed it. The focus of the poems is on the valour and the violence that accompanies this heroic feat.
Though there has been evidence from prehistoric times capturing bulls and attempting to tame them in nearly 70 ancient rock art sites discovered in Tamil Nadu, it is the modern Tamil literary prose where there is extended description of Jallikattu.
R. Rajam Aiyar, disciple of Swami Vivekananda, had his Tamil Novel Kamalambal Charithiram written in 1893 which depicted the celebration of this sport.
Unlike Kalithokai which is set in pastoral zone, the Kamalambal Charithiram has naturalistic locations of Madurai and Tirunelveli where the sport itself is overlapped in the dynamics of rural power structure.
In later books, the stories revolve around the sport being engulfed in caste conflicts and as a result of which, the festival is suspended. But then it is restored by the advent of the Gandhian movement and for the first time, the sport is celebrated as the valorous sport of Tamils. Over a period of time, there have been many novels, short stories and films made on this topic.
Considered the locus classicus of Jallikattu, Vaadi Vaasal, first as short story and then as novel has been in demand since its first publication in 1959. This indicates its literary merit but also cultural importance accorded to it. The history of the literary representation of Jallikattu is testimony to its long-lived attraction.
The sport, though undoubtedly is reflective of social inequities, but has not restrained to few dominating castes. By the 1980s, Jallikattu transcended its regional and caste definition and became emblematic of Tamil culture.
The current issue
The sport is part of Tamil culture organised during the Pongal festivities.
The present form of Jallikattu involves mass-participant ritual of hundreds of men chasing a bull and trying to hold on to its hump or stop it by pulling at or twisting its tail instead of traditional form of one man against one animal.
Also, Jallikattu term in Tamil refers to coins tied onto the bull’s forehead, and the winner is said to have tamed the bull if he could take off the coins. Earlier, it was a rite of passage for a man seeking a girl for marriage. Thus, the meaning and essence of this sport changed over the years.
In 2013, under the watch of the Animal Welfare Board of India, the onus was Tamil Nadu government to ensure that Jallikattu did not violate the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. But, the efforts to conduct a safe and cruelty free Jallikattu failed.
In 2014, Supreme Court judgment had termed Jallikattu ‘inherently cruel’ and specifically held that no regulations or guidelines should be allowed to dilute or defeat the spirit of a welfare legislation like Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 and constitutional principles (Art 21, Art 48 and Art 51A).
The judgment had classified the bull as a draught animal not meant for running but walking under the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965.
The continued ban evoked strong response amongst the people in Tamil Nadu. And bowing down to popular sentiment, now the Tamil Nadu state government is trying to pass an ordinance to allow conduct of Jallikattu, which carries a serious risk of judicial rebuke.
Here, the bulls will be put in the list of performing animals in the state which will allow the conduct of Jallikattu.
The better way to handle the situation is to rather convince SC that a Jallikattu is possible where the safety of spectators as well as elimination of cruelty to animals is possible.
Another way is that Tamil Nadu government can enact a law to treat Jallikattu as a traditional sport. This will make the law valid under Constitution as sports are in exclusive jurisdiction of states. Such a law will allow the sport subject to stringent conditions such as staying 100 feet away from the animal, no stone throwing or doing any acts of cruelty. If any misbehaviour or violation of SC orders found and proved, there shall be punishment for the same.
It is all right if popular sentiment can influence legislation, but it cannot undermine the rule of law.
Is there a hidden agitation?
What was a rural, semi-urban protest, soon saw urban citizens of Chennai coming out in protest of Jallikattu ban.
Here, the instantly swelling protest has to do more with Tamil Pride than Jallikattu.
The Tamil people have been brought together for different reasons such as decades-long rule by two ‘exploitative’ political parties; the Centre’s stand in the last leg of the Sri Lankan war; the feeling of being abandoned in the Cauvery water issue; Kudankulam and GAIL pipeline projects, insistence on learning Hindi, the government’s cold response on the farmers’ issues for years; the drought, the Chennai floods, the Tamil fishermen issue, among others.
Though the current protest is about Jallikattu and Tamil pride, the people have long suppressed their dissatisfaction against centre and state governments. This youth agitation should be addressed before it takes gigantic form of lawlessness.
The protestors have won the fight against the state but it needs greater introspection into the sport and its importance. If Jallikattu has to be a part of Tamil culture, it has to be conducted with protection to animals and human beings as well as regulated by an authority. Age old traditions and cultures need to be revisited if they are in violation with fundamental constitutional principles. Even child marriage was a cultural tradition before it was adjudicated as a crime.
(Note: Part 2 shall cover detailed aspect about ‘why not to ban jallikattu’, ‘religious interference by state machinery’ and ‘rationality vs sentiments’).
Connecting the dots:
Why is Jallikattu enshrined into Tamil culture with such valour? The mass protests surrounding the agitation against the ban brings out in open the tussle between old cultural traditions, populist government decisions and pragmatic judicial intervention. Analyse.