Agri-startups need budget boost: Srihari Kotela

Srihari Kotela

Rama Krishna Sangem

“Agriculture startups should be given a one-time grant in this union budget for 2023-24, which will be presented in the Parliament on February 1,” said e-Fresh Agri Solutions Private Limited founder chairman and CEO Srihari Kotela. He urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to consider a slew of measures to support agri-tech start ups so that the overall farm sector would be strengthened. His e-Fresh is an agri-tech startup.

Talking to Excel India at his Banjara Hills, Hyderabad office on January 27, Friday, Srihari Kotela a chartered accountant felt that all agri startups should be given a tax holiday for a period of five years from the date of they turn profitable. “Presently, the Centre gives three year tax holiday from the inception of a startup, but they barely make any profits in the first three years, so that sop is of no use,” said Kotela.

Srihari Kotela’s suggestion for sops to agri-startups comes at a time when the G-20 countries are holding a two day meeting in Hyderabad on January 28 and 29 on strengthening startups. G-20 Sherpa and former CEO of Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant is coordinating the meeting. Representatives of G-20 countries and 9 other observer nations are joining the meetings.

Srihari Kotela thinks that each of agri-tech startup can be provided a one- time grant of up to Rs 1 crore for a year, so that these startups can sustain and emerge stronger to serve the community. If  providing this helpline is not possible for all agri-startups, at least those which offer 360 degrees support to agriculture sector should be given priority. Only 5-10 per cent of the total agri-startups offer this 360 degrees support.

The 360 degrees coverage means, a startup offers a variety of serves to farmers or FPOs (Farm Producer Organisations) – right from supply and advice on inputs to accounting, compliance services to crop production related technologies and marketing linkages for their output, explained Srihari Kotela. This means a one-stop shop for all requirements of FPOs or farmers.


Reduce burden of compliance

Srihari Kotela made a fervent appeal to FM Nirmala Sitharman to lessen the burden of compliance under both Income Tax Act and Companies Acts. “At present, we (agri-tech startups) are submitting several documents to the authorities under these two laws. This is taking away most of our time and energies. I request the Finance Minister to consider this to a bare minimum documents, one or two at the most,” said Srihari Kotela.

Strengthening of agri-tech startups is important to India at a time when PM Modi is determined to double the incomes of farmers. The PM is also showing interest to make India a global export hub for farm produces. As India signing FTA (Free Trade Agreements) with many countries, it is essential to modernise farm sector. Agri-tech startup will play a bigger role in this direction, said Srihari Kotela.


Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Chief Editor

Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at