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India Could be a Hub for Deep Technology: IT Minister

Ravi Shankar Prasad
Image credit: GoI_MeitY; Twitter

India has the potential to become a hub for deep technology and software products because an ecosystem of payments, favourable policies, and technology is already available, the Minister of Electronics and IT (MeitY), Ravi Shankar Prasad, said.

He noted, at an event co-hosted by MeitY, that 800 out of 23,000 start-ups in the country are technological, and out of those 21 are unicorns.

The event was organised to launch several new initiatives. Including the MeitY Start-up Hub, the second phase of the BHIM scheme, the Indian Software Product Registry, and select incubation centres under the Technology Incubation Development for Entrepreneurs 2.0 (TIDE 2.0).

MietY Start-up Hub

To facilitate MeitY’s vision to promote technology innovation, start-ups, and the creation of intellectual properties, the MietY Start-up Hub (MSH) was developed. MSH will act as national coordination, facilitation, and monitoring centre that will integrate all the incubation centres, start-ups, and innovation-related activities of MeitY.

MSH will also function as a platform to connect incubators, accelerators, mentors, angel funds, and venture capitalists.

Bharat Interface for Money

The updated version of the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) scheme includes enhanced functionalities such as an increase in the existing cap of IN ₹20,000 (US$282) to IN₹100,000 (US$1,410) from verified merchants.

Launched in 2016, BHIM is an instant real-time payment system developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) that facilitates inter-bank transactions. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulates the interface and it works by instantly transferring funds between two bank accounts on a mobile platform.

Some features include a ‘donation’ gateway and the option of applying in IPO. The app is available in three other languages, in addition to the existing thirteen.

Indian Software Product Industry Registry

The Indian Software Product Registry will be a single-window portal for cataloguing all companies and products developed in the country with key analytics, category-wise listing, and options to port the database to the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) for enhanced market access.

Technology Incubation Development for Entrepreneurs 2.0

  • The Technology Incubation Development for Entrepreneurs 2.0 (TIDE) scheme aims to strengthen close to 2,000 technology start-ups in areas of national concern by leveraging emerging technologies and empowering 51 incubation centres across India.
  • According to media reports, the Minister said that MeitY will digitally map innovative products by small entrepreneurs and artisans in villages across India.
  • The initiative that will work to develop a digital catalogue of enterprises and entrepreneurs should be coordinated by common service centres and other related entities, he noted.
  • India could become a major centre for patent and intellectual property. The Minister stated that patent clearance timelines should be brought down to a maximum of one year, responding to industry’s concerns that patent clearances often take almost four and a half years. He assured the industry of his full support on the issue.
  • The National Policy on Software Products 2019, which was published earlier this year, aims to create a robust Indian software product development ecosystem.
  • One of the key focus areas of the policy is to promote tech entrepreneurship and encourage domestic software product start-ups to become a US $70-80 billion market by 2025. The Minister said social start-ups should be encouraged to grow and change India’s digital narrative.
  • Currently, the global software product industry stands at US$511 billion out of which India’s share is US$8.1 billion. The objective is to take India to US$80-90 billion by 2025. Innovation would be pivotal for the country to be a US$5 trillion economy over the next 5 years, from US$3 trillion in 2020.
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