With the ecosystem of payments, startup policy, startup incubation and technology enablement already in place, Indian is poised to become a big hub for software products, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, union minister for electronics, IT, and communications (MeitY).
Speaking at the MeitY Startup Summit 2019, Prasad also acknowledged that so far India has done well in the area of software services, with many tech startup unicorns. “However, the global number of unicorns is 400 plus and so there is room for greater mentorship and encouragement,” he added, according to an ET report.
MeitY also launched government initiatives such as the MeitY Startup Hub, the second phase of Bharat Interface for Mobile (BHIM) scheme, Indian Software Product Registry, and selected incubation centres under the Technology Incubation Development for Entrepreneurs 2.0 (TIDE 2.0).
India’s Startup Hub Plans
Under the MeitY Startup Hub, TIDE 2.0 aims to empower around 2000 tech startups which are going to help India’s socio-economic growth by leveraging emerging technologies. The programme will also strengthen 51 incubation centres in India. The ministry is also planning to digitally map innovative products by small entrepreneurs and artisans in villages across India.
“The initiative on having such a digital catalogue of enterprises and entrepreneurs should be coordinated by CSC, and other entities,” he added.
Talking about the larger concerns around patent clearance, and the long turnaround time (approximately 4.5 years), Prasad said that the government will try to reduce the time for granting patent licenses to a maximum of one year through the Startup Hub. He further said that the government is looking to make India a big centre for patent and intellectual property related innovation.
“We are going to set up one lakh digital villages in the coming few years. I expect some of you to patronise and mentor those digital villages in your own way. They should become centres of empowerment and entrepreneurship,” he said.
At the summit, the government also rolled out the updated version of BHIM, increasing the existing cap of INR 20K to INR 100K for digital payments by verified merchants. Under the DigiDhan Mission Awards 2019, Prasad gave out awards to outstanding women entrepreneurs in six categories.
However, Prasad feels that there should be increased competition in the government departments as well. “For Digital India to succeed, the government entities must also become competitive. I have told the national informatics centre (NIC) that your people have to become competitive and innovative,” the minister said.
The National Policy on Software Products 2019, cleared by the government earlier this year focusses on promoting tech entrepreneurship in the country. It also aims to help Indian software product startups scale up quickly to become a $70-80 Bn market by 2025.
Prasad added there is a compelling case for social startups and that these should be encouraged, so they unleash their innovation and change India’s digital narrative across sectors and sections of society.