We hear a lot about start-ups in sectors such as information technology (IT), healthcare, education, and agriculture, among others.

But not many know that the Government is also promoting start-ups in areas such as art and photography, fashion, and passenger experience, to name a few.

A recent reply in Parliament shows that the Centre has been recognising start-ups in 57 sectors under the ‘Startup India’ initiative launched in 2016. The Government said that the number of recognised start-ups in India has increased from 428 in 2016 to 98,119 as of April 30, 2023.

The initiative aims to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and start-ups, and encouraging private investments in the sector.

The IT services sector boasts the maximum number of start-ups, with the Government recognising more than 10,000 since 2016. The healthcare and life sciences sector follows with more than 8,000 start-ups.

There are more than 5,600 start-ups in the education sector, while the agriculture and food and beverages sectors have more than 4,000 each.

India has fewer than 100 government-recognised start-ups in sectors such as airport operations, animation, dating and matrimonial, and passenger experience.

According to the Government, more than 290 start-ups have been recognised under ‘art and photography’, more than 340 under ‘events’, and more than 1,140 under the ‘fashion’ sector. There are even government-recognised start-ups in the field of ‘Indic language’.

Districts in focus

Contrary to the popular perception that start-ups are mainly concentrated in the metros and other start-up hubs in the country, nearly 80 per cent of the districts have start-ups.

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash said in a written reply that various measures have been undertaken under the Startup India initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.

“As a result, as on April 30, 2023, there is at least one recognised start-up in every state and UT spread across over 80 per cent of the districts across the nation,” he said.

Data from the Parliament reply shows that more than 50 per cent of the government-recognised start-ups are located in five major states (an on April 30, 2023) — Maharashtra (17,981 start-ups), Karnataka (11,080), Delhi (10,812), Uttar Pradesh (9,058), and Gujarat (7,357).

While Andaman and Nicobar Islands has 43 start-ups recognised by the government, Lakshadweep has two. Jammu and Kashmir has 540 start-ups, and Ladakh seven.

In the North-East, Assam leads with 879 government-recognised start-ups, followed by Manipur (108), Tripura (82), Nagaland (39), Meghalaya (32), Arunachal Pradesh (25), Mizoram (15), and Sikkim (10).


Job creation is a major aspect of the start-ups. Referring to the self-reported data from the recognised start-ups, the Minister said they generated 1.59 lakh jobs in 2020, 2.01 lakh jobs in 2021, and 2.70 lakh jobs in 2022.

Start-up incentives

Under the Startup India initiative, the Government undertakes efforts for the development and growth of the start-up ecosystem in the country.

The Minister said the Government has unveiled an action plan for start-ups comprising schemes and incentives to create a vibrant start-up ecosystem. It includes 19 action areas such as ‘simplification and handholding’, ‘funding support and incentives’, and ‘industry-academia partnership and incubation’.

The flagship schemes, namely Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS), Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS), and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS) support the ventures at various stages of their business cycle to be able to raise investments from angel investors or venture capitalists or seek loans from commercial banks or financial institutions, he said.

The Government also implements annual exercises and programmes, including the start-up ranking of states, national start-up awards, and Innovation Week to aid the holistic development of the ecosystem.