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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, June 6, said the government is taking several steps to promote young entrepreneurs in the country, adding that startups are no longer confined to big cities.

The PM was interacting with young entrepreneurs from across the country, including cities like Dehradun, Guwahati and Raipur through videoconferencing on the Namo app.

Smaller towns and villages too are emerging as vibrant startup centres, the Prime Minister said adding that along with Make in India, Design in India too is important for startups. “There was a time when startups meant only digital and tech innovation. Things are changing now. We are seeing start-up entrepreneurs in different fields,” he said.

“We have started an Agriculture Grand Challenge. We invite more youngsters to ideate on how to transform our agriculture sector,” he added.

Talking about youngsters who have made it big in the start-up sector, he said it is the youth who have turned out to be the “job creators” of the nation.

Describing India as a “youthful nation”, Modi said the government is committed to “harnessing of the demographic dividend”.

“Adequate capital, courage and connecting with people are required for excelling in the startup sector,” he said.

Commenting on the issue of fund availability for startups, Modi said the government has created a Rs 10,000 crore Fund of Funds. “We in the government understand that youngsters may face shortage of funds for their startups. That is why a ‘fund of funds’ has been started by the government to facilitate more youngsters to innovate and ideate,” Modi added.

The government has launched the Startup India Action Plan to promote budding entrepreneurs in the country. The plan is aimed at giving incentives such as tax holiday, inspector raj-free regime and capital gains tax exemption, Modi said.

“Our startups are growth engines. Today’s big companies were startups at some point. I urge the people of India to keep innovating,” he added.

He also said startups can sell their products to the government and it has eased public procurement norms for them.

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