Grant Thornton India, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG Advisory Service are in the race to evaluate the progress of the Startup India program, improve India’s global standing on the startups front and attract investment into the sector.

The four firms “were found to be qualified and accordingly, it was decided to call them for technical presentation”, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said in a statement.

Sources had reported in March that the government plans to hire a consulting agency to chalk out an action plan to attract investment in startups to improve India’s global standing and identify bottlenecks that prevent businesses and high-net-worth individuals from investing in them. India ranks 136 on ‘starting a business’ in the World Bank’s ease of doing business table against an overall rank of 63.

 “However, the date for technical presentation would have to be rescheduled because of the travel restrictions owing to the Covid-19 situation, and new dates will be intimated soon,” DPIIT said.

The development comes at a time when India’s startup sector is hit hard by business disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As per apex software and services body Nasscom, 40% of startups have either temporarily halted operations or are in the process of shutting down, with around 70% having cash reserves to last less than three months.

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