India Is Counting on Reality TV to Galvanize its Startup Scene
Employees sit in ball chairs as they work on laptop computers at the Flipkart Online Services Pvt. headquarters in Bengaluru, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

India Is Counting on Reality TV to Galvanize its Startup Scene


(Bloomberg) -- India’s government is keen to sustain the hyper-growth of its tech scene, and it thinks reality TV may be the answer.

Narendra Modi’s administration intends to create a TV channel and show that matches entrepreneurs and startups with investors. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Friday the program will run on a clutch of channels currently operated by state-owned broadcaster Doordarshan.

“This shall serve as a platform for promoting startups, discussing issues affecting their growth, matchmaking with venture capitalists and for funding and tax planning,” Sitharaman said during a reading of annual budget proposals in parliament.

The channel will be designed and run by startups, Sitharaman said, without elaborating. It was one of the few budget announcements related to India’s high-profile technology startup sector, which has produced giant outfits from Ola and Paytm to Flipkart as smartphone usage skyrockets and cheap data rates fuels Internet adoption. As unemployment rates hit a 45-year high, Modi is keen to energize the job-creating startup sector. Doordarshan’s nationwide reach could help raise private firms’ profile while stimulating entrepreneurship in rural areas.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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