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Minister puts Indian startups’ exposure to failed US bank SVB at $1billion

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said that Indian startups had around $1 billion deposits with the failed US-based Silicon Valley Bank that is being bailed out by the Joe Biden administration.

During a Twitter live session on Thursday, Chandrasekhar said he heard that over $200 million of startups’ deposits have been transferred to GIFT City bank in India. “I had kind of very empirically and anecdotally calculated that there was more than a billion dollars of startups’ capital as deposits. According to some, this is a conservative estimate. There were deposits in SVB that are attributable to Indian startups close to a billion or more,” the Minister of State for Electronics and IT said.

Chandrasekhar also said that he discussed fallout of the SVB failure with the Finance Minister on Wednesday and pitched for fine-tuning the Indian banking system to meet the requirement of startups.

In answer to a question, he said the country is expected to start making electronic chips in 2023.

“We are going to ground break a fab (chip-making plant). We are going to create packaging units in India and by the end of the financial year 2023, I think, there will be more than 50-55 design startups that are doing device design,” Chandrasekhar said.

The minister, while interacting with over 450 startups on the collapse of SVB on Tuesday said the government is exploring whether any credit lines can be made available in US dollar or Indian rupees. The government is also trying to facilitate the transfer of US dollar deposits to Indian banks.  During the meeting, a few startups shared their concern about transferring their US Dollar deposits to India, and to US-based branches of Indian banks.