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To bring down the dependence on foreign capital for startups, the Centre should bring in amendments to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to explore institutional funding mechanisms for insurance companies like LIC to fund them, said T V Mohandas Pai chairman Manipal Global Education Services.

Participating in the post-Budget interaction with the Union Finance Minister organised by BCIC on Sunday, Pai said, “Startup sector is facing severe funding challenges, and overseas companies are not investing in India due to regulations.”

Dishing out statistics on the startup sector, Pai said, “Of 43 unicorns, 21 are outside India and have an Indian subsidiary. We do not want to be a subsidiary for an MNC outside India.”

Pai, pitching for a new sunrise sector – Agri-tech startups, said, “There are 1,200 agri-tech startups of which only 300 are funded. These startups enable farmers to earn 15 to 20 per cent additional income by connecting them to the market. We want institutions like NABARD, which recently got over a lakh crore, to take up agriculture-related funding. Encourage them to set aside ₹10,000 crore to create a fund to invest in these startups so that agri-business can go up from ₹5,000 crore a month to ₹40,000 crore in three years.”

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