India is not just data-rich but also has immense manufacturing potential. The start-up culture has been growing in India for a while. The country is also not far behind in the digital sector. It’s important to look at the government support and vision for the country’s entrepreneurs.
TiE Global Summit brought together Nisha Poddar, anchor and editor at CNBC in conversation with Amitabh Kant, India’s leasing policy expert. An IAS of the batch 1980 and currently holds the position of CEO of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India). Kant was key driver of the “Make in India,” Startup India, “Incredible India,” and “God’s Own Country” initiatives that positioned India. He’s also the author of best-sellers Branding India and Incredible India 2.0.
The discussion began with an evaluation of the current state of startups in India. India has the second-largest startup ecosystem with 55 thousand startups and 60 billion dollars-worth of funding. According to Kant’s input, India is a data-rich country, which is now recognised by the word and the Indian government. It is one of the largest tech markets which has shown great potential for growth. Even in the COVID era, India saw the inflow of funding and growth. India is recognised for its ease of doing business and innovation in an economy largely driven by young entrepreneurs. Kant emphasized the role that Indian government’s policies played in this transformation. “The country has been pushing young minds into the tech industry,” Kant said, “As we innovate, we’ll be finding solutions to many of our problems in education, and health through sheer innovation and entrepreneurship, we’ll be finding solutions not for the 1.3 billion people of India, also for the people of the world who have moved from poverty to middle class”.
The Potential of India’s Data Mine
India is a data mine like India with a huge population that has immense potential to grow in the tech sector. Kant believes, like many others, that the post-COVID era will be the age of technology. The Government of India has invested in various tech-based schemes like Unnati, Aadhar, KYC and UPI.
Highlighting the government’s forwardness towards technology, Kant also talked about how the Indian government is the first in the world to use Artificial Intelligence for social good and has made AI a cornerstone for national strategy, another first for a country. He stressed that India needs a data-based framework with strong privacy policies and how data sharing can be made reliable. Kant reassured that the country has taken several measures to ensure data privacy and security and will be continuing to do so with bills like Personal Data Protection, which is currently being debated in the Parliament.
The NITI Aayog Chief also stated that the government hasn’t ignored the manufacturing sector despite the increased focus on the digital sector. The manufacturing sector has driven the Indian economy and is a large contributor. He said that the government’s investment in mobile manufacturing has brought major Apple and Samsung investors in India. The government has provided PLI (Production Linked Incentive) for API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) in the Pharmaceutical sector.
Women Entrepreneurs: The Next Big Disruption
Amitabh Kant believes that the next big disruption in the startup industry will be by women entrepreneurs. There has been a rise in startups led by women in India. Kant highlights that the country realises that there is an untapped women workforce in India and is taking measures to utilise it. Continuing on the equal opportunities for all, the government is focusing on its schemes for rural areas and small town in the country. Most of the government support tier 2 and tier 3 cities along with rural areas in the country. The government has an Aspirational Districts plan which consists of 112 backward districts. Kant believes that they will become the next big thing.
The motivating session with Mr. Amitabh Kant will come across as reassuring for entrepreneurs in audience at the TiE Global Summit and those across the country.