Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal today called for further strengthening of ethics and corporate governance norms in startups. He was addressing the ‘Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)- Global Unicorn Summit- Shaping 1,000 Unicorns by 2030’ in New Delhi.
He stressed that instances of fudging revenues, data fraud, tax evasions and other malpractices have to be curbed at an early stage or it would kill the entrepreneurial spirit of young startups and have a very damaging effects to the startup ecosystem. He called for more transparency and the setting up of better standards and benchmarks and more self-regulation in the starup ecosystem. He asked startups to think in long-term, in order to create sustainable wealth for ourselves and society.
Observing that India is home to 95 unicorns, Shri Goyal quipped that we needed just one more sixer to hit a Century of Unicorns. Government’s efforts to reduce regulatory compliance burden has encouraged innovation and promoted the commercialization of IPR and made it easier to begin, operate, grow and exit businesses, he added.
The Minister spoke of the tremendous talent that lay in Tier 2, 3 cities and smaller villages of India and asked that startup revolution be taken in that direction. Startups like Zoho recruit coders from rural areas thus bringing Silicon Valley to rural India, he added.
Expressing his desire that startups must incorporate in India and list in India and not move to tax havens, Shri Goyal urged them to approach the government if they face any issues and assured that it would strive to resolve problems.
The Minister said that Venture Capitalists must also promote and protect Intellectual Property created by young entrepreneurs, provide expertise to scale-up and explore greater capital infusion. He expressed hope that Indian Intellectual Property would benefit the world but asked that India be the primary beneficiary these innovations. Reiterating the Prime Minister’s clarion called of ‘vocal for local’, and ‘local to global’, Shri Goyal said that there could be nobody better than our startups to realize both these mantras.
Terming cyber security and data privacy as pressing issues faced by the global economy as digitization rose, Shri Goyal noted that India’s consumer digital economy is worth approximately USD 100 billion and is expected to become a USD 800 billion market by 2030. He spoke of the persistent need to ensure that the enormous data collected by digital technology platforms is safeguarded.
Speaking of the tech revolution that Indian economy has been witnessing, with unicorns emerging in Fintech, Edtech, Healthtech, e-Commerce and media among other sectors, the Minister reminded that within 2-3 months of Startup India Global VC Summit 2019, National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) was formulated, which, he said, had done a stellar job in promotion innovation and startups.
Shri Goyal stressed that Indian startups are now offering some outstanding, high-quality solutions to the modern problems faced by society. He cited examples of Qure.ai, the Mumbai-based Startup that uses deep learning algorithms to interpret X-rays and CT scans in seconds and Bengaluru based CropIn Technology which provides one-stop SaaS based solutions to farmers – real time weather updates and predicts crop yields.
Speaking of the need to encourage startups whose business model is based on high tech innovation in engineering, defence or significant scientific advances, the Minister said that technology makes the impossible, possible! With rise of digital commerce metaverse new opportunities for the users and providers to connect will be unlocked, he said and asked for the metaverse to be leveraged to boost trade and commerce.
Shri Goyal opined that in India’s bid to become Aatmanirbhar in energy and defence, there was a lot of white space which can be filled by startups, thus reducing our dependence on imports. Space is another avenue in which Government is encouraging private players to explore collaboration with ISRO, he added.
Quoting Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Minister said ‘Don’t just keep your dreams local, make them Global’ and added that many of India’s startups were already venturing out beyond the borders of India and making a mark for themselves in both emerging economies and developed world by being scalable and affordable. Asking the nation to buy from startups and encourage B2B procurement from startups, the Shri Goyal said that startups must also be stimulated by subscribing to their IPOs and giving them access to domestic capital.
He called for more media coverage for startups, especially in regional languages so that their ideas reach even remote parts of the country. The Minister also that that the efforts made by startups must be respected and added that the founders, the heroes of the startup ecosystem, must be given their due recognition. Reaching the 1000 unicorns mark by 2030 is an achievable dream
The Minister also called for the creation of a Gen-next National Council which would serve as an advisory body to nurture entrepreneurial talent and potential of our youngsters and to give both continuity and change to the startup ecosystem through its structure and functioning. The Minister assured that the Government was committed to supporting entrepreneurs and investors in the common pursuit of making India the best place for innovation and startups.