Leading as the home ground of Indian tech startups, Karnataka is now further expanding options to boost funding in the startup ecosystem. Information Technology and Biotechnology department of the government of Karnataka has reportedly proposed to earmark INR 150 Cr ($21 Mn) for a debt fund to help companies secure Series-A funding.
A Deccan Herald report said that in a meeting to plan the upcoming state budget, the initiative was discussed between state chief minister B S Yediyurappa and deputy CM CN Ashwath Narayan, who is also the Information Technology and Biotechnology and Science and Technology minister.
The deputy CM has sought INR 150 Cr over a three-year period, beginning with INR 35 Cr in FY2020-21. The debt fund would be in addition to the government’s existing schemes under which startups are provided seed funding and venture capital support. Overall, the CM has shown interest in hiking the outlay for the IT/BT department, for which deputy CM has sought to triple the outlay from INR 120 Cr.
The IT department also has plans to announce the setting up of an Artificial Intelligence Research Translation Park in association with the Indian Institute of Science. This will prioritise AI pilot projects in the areas of healthcare, transportation, agriculture, education, financial services and urban management among others.
The department has sought a corpus grant of INR 50 Cr for the same. The government is also looking to announce a Talent Acceleration Programme to “impart and upgrade” skills for guaranteed placement.
Under this, 1,000 graduates across five streams will be trained over the next two years. Some of the other suggestions of the IT department include a lab to run data analytics for good governance, an innovation hub that brings various government programmes under one roof, a Karnataka Technology Mission for investment promotion.
The state is also looking to formalise a legal framework for a regulatory sandbox. On the lines of the regulatory sandbox being tested by RBI, the Karnataka government’s initiative will allow technology entrepreneurs to test the viability of products in a live situation before going for the launch of their startups.
Also, the state government planned a vision group for startups to provide insights on strengthening the startup ecosystem in the state and focus on involving stakeholders from industry and academia. The government also plans to establish a legal framework for innovation under the Karnataka Innovation Authority to enhance its position as a global innovator by encouraging new and emerging technologies in the state.
In the NITI Aayog’s first-ever India Innovation Index, Karnataka topped the charts among major states in the country. Thanks to Bengaluru, Karnataka is already one of the leading states in India for startups.