Narendra Modi interacts with young innovators, says country has established a stronghold in the startup ecosystem

There was much bonhomie in the conversation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with startup entrepreneurs from several cities across the country. There was an endorsement for the government of the pains and bottlenecks it has been able to remove from the path of entrepreneurs while starting up a venture. Modi expressed his appreciation by clapping spontaneously at some of the comments and ideas of the entrepreneurs, and also when some of the government’s schemes were lauded by the participants.

At the outset, Modi reiterated his oft-expressed thoughts on the startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship at the start of the talk which was conducted on YouTube by stating that Startup India was started for the benefit of the youth. “And for that capital and courage is required. Initially, only digital and IT was associated with startups and were centric to tier-I cities. But we changed this mindset. We included manufacturing, agriculture to the purview of startups and spread them to tier-II and tier-III cities,” Modi said.

The PM reeled off statistics. He said 45 percent of the startups in the country are started by women. That a startup aids employment by giving jobs to 12 persons. India has now established a stronghold in the startup ecosystem, he said. Startups are no longer restricted to large cities but small cities too have picked up pace, noted Modi.

Startup entrepreneurs from Bengaluru, Guwahati, Jharkhand, school students from Thoothukudi participated in the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File image. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File image. Reuters

Each of them highlighted the advantages they have been able to capitalize on which has made the entrepreneurial journey easier for them.

Tax exemptions: Some like Kaushik, a co-founder of a hardware startup in Bengaluru highlighted the tax exemptions that were available because of DIPP, including income tax given to startups. “As a hardware startup, we have got many exemptions and are able to focus research and development,” he said.

Facilitating patents: Kaushik said earlier the startup had to pay more (around Rs 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh) to get a patent which was now down to only Rs 18-20,000 due to DIPP. “A lot of help was given by the government for patent facilitation,” he said. Since the time span was reduced, the PM asked if the team was confident about coming out with new products. Kaushik was positive they could.

Avinash, another entrepreneur too spoke about the ease at which filing patents was made possible by the government. The time had come down from 3 years when the proposal was pending to within a few months he said and subsequently the costs went down too. “Our vision is to build a indigenous technology company and provide solution to tech companies," he said.

Modi told the entrepreneur he was trying to understand his innovation and asked the entrepreneur to send a clipping of the conversation and send it to all mobile companies and even promised to become the ambassador for it.

The prime minister said, in the previous regime, it would take 75 forms to be filled to get a trademark. “Now it has been reduced to 8 forms. Citizens can acquire trademarks and register patents online and be assisted through video conferencing. The process has now become speedy and simple. This year, 11,000 people have registered for patents as against 4,000 during the previous year,” he said.

The government has simplified the rules for startups, Modi said. As many as 21 regulatory laws have been simplified. “For startups, 6 labour laws and 3 environmental norms have been exempted. Income Tax has also been exempt for startups for three years. Now, the youth can get capital, patents, investments because of the ease of doing business that the government has provided,” the PM said.

Availability of govt funds: Rajat, a founder of the smallest ECG which he claimed could fit into a matchbox, said the government has supported the startup with investments. “We were awarded Rs.50,000 cash price and Rs 25 lakh seed support as a part of a competition organised by the government. We never had to step out of the house for investments and used the capital for reasearch and development, he said.

Congratulating the team for its ‘big’ innovation, the prime minister said that he was optimistic that doctors listening to the program would approach them.

The prime minister tweeted that 'fund of funds' was started to facilitate youngsters to innovate and ideate.

Mentoring from Startup India: Swati, a co-founder on a menstruation pain relief device from Dehradoon said as a woman she found that her ideas were not ‘entertained’ by people. But she said she received support from Startup India program. “We got a lot of mentoring support from Startup India for not only starting the business but also getting intellectual property rights for my device,” she said. The prime minister exhorted entrepreneurs to tap the potential available in the regions they were operating from. Citing the example of Chhattisgarh while talking with Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society (CHIPS) in Raipur  he asked them to encourage entrepreneurship by permitting students of class 10 and class 12 to visit startup incubators and make them aware of the ecosytem. "They [students] should know that this is a viable and futuristic field," he said.  The prime minister suggested to entrepreneurs in Chhatisgarh to help handicrafts made by tribals would get a global exposure. He tweeted about it:

The prime minister spoke about the new developments that have been brought in to boost the startup ecosystem. He mentioned the various programs that are in the pipeline like the Agriculture Challenge. "We have started an Agriculture Grand Challenge. We invite more youngsters to ideate on how to transform our agriculture sector," he added.

Catching 'em young: The government is establising eight research parks for encouraging innovations in various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISC), he said. Modi said the government was keen to expose school going children from class 6 to class 12 to the concept of entrepreneurship. "We are providing not only monetary assistance but also striving to change the mindset of people viz-a-viz startups. We are also establishing Atal Tinkering Labs for students from class 6 to class 12," he said.

Hackathons with Israel, Singapore mooted

The government is also promoting hackathons, the prime minister said. "We had started India Israel innovators summit where we encouraged innovative ideas to come forth through the medium of competition. For this purpose, Atal New India Challenge has been started all across India, where competitions will be held and winners will get a cash prize of Rs 1 crore. We also started hackathons in association with Singapore. The Prime Minister of Singapore has agreed to start work on heckathons with India in 2018-19," he said.

The Make In India is a brand that the world talks about, said Modi. Citing an example, he said, four years ago, there were only two factories that manufactured mobile phones which had since increased to 120, he said. "We also want to start "Design India" in tandem with Make in India. I feel its the need of the hour now that Make in India is well established," he said.



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Updated Date: Jun 06, 2018 14:30:15 IST

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