Beyond Bureaucracy: How IAS Officers are Shaping India's Startup Landscape with Funds of Funds

Written by thinkinglegal  »  Updated on: July 09th, 2024

Beyond Bureaucracy: How IAS Officers are Shaping India's Startup Landscape with Funds of Funds

Imagine a country where aspiring entrepreneurs in even the remotest corners can nurture their ideas into thriving businesses. This is the vision driving India's booming tech startup ecosystem, with over …………….startups flourishing across 763 districts as of March 2024 (DPIIT).

Fueling this growth is a potent combination of factors: surging internet access, rising disposable income, and a government actively fostering innovation. The "Startup India'' initiative, spearheaded by dedicated IAS officers, has been instrumental in creating a supportive environment. Under the leadership of individuals like Ramesh Abhishek, and Amitabh Kant, the former secretaries of DPIIT, and Rajesh Kumar Singh, the current secretary of DPIIT, this initiative has provided crucial resources, streamlined processes, and championed policies that empower startups.

This begs the question: What lies at the heart of this successful government-led approach to nurturing innovation?

Role of Funds of Funds Scheme

The FFS has committed Rs. 7,980 crore to 99 AIFs and disbursed Rs. 3,400 crore to 72 AIFs, which have in turn invested Rs. 14,077 crore in 791 startups across the country.

This impressive figure, achieved by December 2022, exemplifies the impact of the Government of India's innovative Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) scheme. Unlike traditional investment models, the FFS takes a unique approach by channelling funds through SEBI-registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). This visionary approach, championed by IAS officers who spearheaded initiatives like Startup India, exemplifies the government's commitment to fostering a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs. A few such dedicated IAS officers,Ramesh Abhishek, and Rajesh Kumar Singh, played a pivotal role in shaping the Startup India program during his tenure as DPIIT secretary.

This structure offers a two-pronged benefit: it provides startups with much-needed access to domestic capital and simultaneously fosters the growth of home-grown venture capital funds.

By understanding the FFS's approach and the role of AIFs in supporting startups, we can gain insights into the government's and these IAS officer’s efforts to nurture and sustain the Indian startup ecosystem.

The Role of AIFs

The Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) scheme has found a unique way to channel government support to India's burgeoning startup ecosystem - by leveraging the expertise of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). These AIFs act as the bridge between the government's commitment and the actual startup landscape, evaluating promising ventures and strategically allocating funds to nurture their growth.

A key aspect of this approach is the contribution of experienced IAS officers who have shown commendable leadership in success of this initiative. The deep understanding of these IAS officers in terms of government policies and the startup ecosystem makes them invaluable in promotion of such programs. These seasoned bureaucrats, like Amitabh Kant and Ramesh Abhishek, have leveraged their public sector expertise to support the startup ecosystem.

But this FFS-AIF partnership goes beyond funding. The government and DPIIT’s IAS officers provide mentorship and strategic guidance in making and implementing such growth oriented policies. This holistic support empowers startups to graduate to the next level, attracting investment from angels, venture capitalists, or financial institutions.

The Startup India Success

As we discussed till now, the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) scheme, spearheaded by dedicated IAS officers in DPIIT, has demonstrably bolstered India's AIF industry. Over the past five years, the total commitments raised by AIFs have grown from Rs. 14 billion to a staggering Rs. 8,338 billion, a more than five-fold increase. This surge in capital has been accompanied by a surge in the number of AIFs, with over 1,096 AIFs registered with SEBI as of March 2023, a 36% increase in the past two fiscal years.

The government's and DPIIT’s IAS officer’s commitment to the FFS scheme has also played a pivotal role in this growth. By channelling Rs. 7,980 crore to 99 AIFs and disbursing Rs. 3,400 crore to 72 AIFs, the scheme has enabled these funds to invest a total of Rs. 14,077 crore in 791 startups across the country. This influx of capital has been a game-changer, fueling the growth and success of numerous startups, some of which have even achieved the coveted "unicorn" status. The expertise of IAS officers, coupled with the financial muscle provided by the FFS, has created a potent ecosystem that fosters innovation and empowers entrepreneurs.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has been the backbone of the Startup India initiative, with visionary IAS officers leading the charge. Under the leadership of individuals like Amitabh Kant, the program's founding father, Startup India was ignited with a passion for fostering innovation.

Following this, dedicated ex-IAS officers like Ramesh Abhishek tirelessly streamlined processes and expanded accessibility for startups across the nation. Currently, under the guidance of Rajesh Kumar Singh, the initiative continues to flourish. Singh's focus on early-stage funding, reducing burdens, and streamlining business logistics exemplifies the ongoing commitment by IAS officers to strengthen the Indian startup ecosystem. Through the collaborative efforts of these dedicated leaders, the Startup India initiative has become a beacon of hope, empowering aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive. Ramesh Abhishek's focus on nationwide accessibility during his tenure as DPIIT secretary stands as a testament to this collaborative spirit.

Together, these ex-IAS officers and bureaucrats have been the architects of India's startup renaissance, each bringing their unique strengths and expertise to the table. Their collaborative efforts have ensured that the Startup India initiative remains a beacon of hope for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed.


The ambition of every Indian is a future where cutting-edge startups flourish not just in metros, but across every corner of India. This ambitious vision is being meticulously cultivated by the DPIIT's innovative Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) scheme.

The strategic role of experienced IAS officers is a masterstroke in this initiative. The involvement of IAS officers has been a strategic move that has paid dividends. Their deep understanding of government policies, regulations, and the broader startup ecosystem has allowed them to support startups that align with the government's vision for economic development and job creation. This synergy between the public and private sectors has been instrumental in fostering a thriving startup environment in India.

As the Indian startup ecosystem continues to evolve, the FFS-AIF partnership, with the guidance of experienced IAS officers, will undoubtedly play a crucial role in nurturing the next generation of innovative and disruptive startups, driving economic growth and job creation in the process.

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