The role of Indian startups will be critical when Indian freedom reaches its centenary yea, this was the benchmark thought of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi when he interacted with Startups via video conferencing.
The Startups gave presentations to the Prime Minister on six themes viz. Growing from Roots; Nudging the DNA; From Local to Global; Technology of Future; Building Champions in Manufacturing; and Sustainable Development. More than 150 startups were divided into six working groups for the purpose of these presentations. For each theme, there were presentations by two Startup representatives, who spoke on behalf of all the startups selected for that particular theme.
During their presentation, the startup representatives thanked the Prime Minister for the opportunity to provide such a platform to share their ideas, and praised his vision and support to the startup ecosystem. They shared ideas and inputs on a variety of sectors and areas including robust data collection mechanism in agriculture; making India the preferred agribusiness hub; boosting healthcare through use of technology; tackling issue of mental health; promoting travel and tourism through innovations like virtual tours; ed-tech and job identification; space sector; connecting offline retail market with digital commerce; increasing manufacturing efficiency; defence exports; promoting green sustainable products and sustainable means of transport, among others.
Union Ministers Shri Piyush Goyal, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Shri Ashwini Vaisnaw, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Shri Parshottam Rupala, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Shri Pashupati Kumar Paras, Dr Jitendra Singh, Shri Som Parkash were among those present on the occasion.
Speaking after the presentations, the Prime Minister said that organization of this Start-Up India Innovation week is all the more important in this year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav as the role of the Start Ups will be critical when Indian freedom reaches its centenary year. “I congratulate all the start-ups of the country, all the innovative youth, who are raising the flag of India in the world of start-ups. For this culture of start-ups to reach the far-flung parts of the country, it has been decided to celebrate January 16 as National Start-up Day”, the Prime Minister announced.
Recalling the concept of the current decade as the ‘techade’ of India, the Prime Minister listed three important aspects of the massive changes that the government is making in this decade to strengthen the innovation, entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem. First, to liberate entrepreneurship and innovation from the web of government processes, bureaucratic silos. Second, creating an institutional mechanism to promote innovation. And third, handholding of young innovators and young enterprises. He listed programmes like Startup India and Standup India as part of the efforts. Measures like removing problems of ‘angel tax’, simplification of tax procedure, arranging for government funding, allowing self certification of 9 labour and 3 environment laws and removal of more than 25 thousand compliances have taken the process further. Startup runway on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) platform is facilitating the provision of startup services to the government.
The Prime Minister said the Government’s effort is to institutionalize innovation in the country by creating attraction for innovation among students since childhood. More than 9000 Atal Tinkering Labs are giving children a chance to innovate in schools and work on new ideas. He added that whether it is new drone rules, or new space policy, the priority of the government is to provide opportunities for innovation to as many youth as possible. Our government has simplified the rules related to IPR registration too, he added.
The Prime Minister noted the exponential rise in the indicators of innovation. He said that in the year 2013-14, 4000 patents were approved, last year, more than 28 thousand patents were granted. In the year 2013-14, where about 70000 trademarks were registered, in 2020-21 more than 2.5 lakh trademarks have been registered. In the year 2013-14, where only 4000 copyrights were granted, last year their number has crossed 16000. The Prime Minister pointed out that India’s campaign for innovation has resulted in improvement of India’s ranking in Global innovation index where India stood at 81 rank but now India stands at 46 rank in the index.
Shri Modi informed that startups of India are working with 55 separate industries and the number of startups has increased from less than 500 five years ago to more than 60 thousand today. The Prime Minister said “Our Start-ups are changing the rules of the game. That’s why I believe Start-ups are going to be the backbone of new India.” The Prime Minister noted that last year, 42 unicorns came up in the country. These companies worth thousands of crores of rupees are the hallmark of self-reliant and self-confident India. “Today India is rapidly moving towards hitting the century of the unicorns. I believe the golden era of India’s start-ups is starting now”, he added.
The Prime Minister underlined the role of empowerment by entrepreneurship in addressing the problems of development and regional-gender disparities. He mentioned that today, there is at least one startup in each of the 625 districts of the country and more than half of the startups are from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. These are converting ideas from ordinary poor families into businesses and lakhs of young Indians are getting employment.
Shri Narendra Modi singled out India’s diversity as a key strength and keystone of India’s global identity. He said that Indian unicorns and startups are the messenger of this diversity. The Prime Minister said start-ups from India can easily reach other countries of the world. So “don’t just keep your dreams local, make them global. Remember this mantra- let’s Innovate for India, innovate from India”, he exhorted the innovators.
The Prime Minister suggested many areas where the startup ecosystem can play a major role. He said that extra space on the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan can be used for EV charging infrastructure. Similarly, areas like defence manufacturing, chip manufacturing offer many possibilities. He dwelled on the drone sector and said that many investors have been investing in drone startups after the new drone policy. Army, Navy and Air Force have given 500 crore rupee worth orders to drone startups. In urban planning, the Prime Minister touched upon ‘walk to work concepts’, integrated industrial estates and smart mobility as potential areas.
The Prime Minister remarked that the millennials today are the cornerstone of both the prosperity of their families and the self-reliance of the nation. ‘From rural economy to Industry 4.0, both our needs and our potential are limitless. Investment on research and development related to future technology is the priority of the government today”, he said.
Referring to the future prospects, the Prime Minister said that as of now only half of our population is online, therefore future possibilities are immense and he appealed to the start- ups to move towards villages also. “Whether it is mobile internet, broadband connectivity or physical connectivity, aspirations of villages are rising and rural and semi-urban areas are waiting for a new wave of expansion”, he said.
The Prime Minister told the startups that this is a new era of innovation i.e. ideas, industry and investment and their labor, enterprise, wealth creation and job creation should be for India. “I am standing with you, the government is with you and the entire country is standing with you”, he concluded.