The government has proposed to the crisis-ridden Venezuela that it can settle dues of pharma companies in India through oil that it exports here. "The government of India has put-forth an 'oil for export mechanism' between government of Venezuela and government of India to settle pending payments of pharma companies," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. She said the proposal seeks to work out a mechanism to offset payments which are to be made to oil companies of Venezuela against due payments of Indian entities.
"There has been no response from Venezuelan side," she added. Indian pharmaceutical exporters are facing problems in getting payments from the crisis-hit Venezuela. The South American country is India's largest trading partner in that region particularly in oil sector. Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) has already raised concerns over the delay in payments and had sought government's intervention in that. Replying to a separate question, Sitharaman said 793 startups have applied for recognition so far under the 'Startup India' programme. "223 startups have been recognised by the government so far," she added. She also said that a 'fund of funds' (FFS) of Rs 10,000 crore for startups has been established which is being managed by SIDBI.
The fund will invest in SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), which in turn will invest in startups. "Till date, SIDBI has sanctioned an amount of Rs 168 crore towards the corpus of 6 AIFs under FFS," she said. These AIFs will invest in startups across sectors and states.