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Strengthening India’s Deep Tech Ecosystem

The National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) Consortium has introduced the Draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy for public consultation. NDTSP serves as a comprehensive framework to tackle the challenges faced by deep tech startups. The policy identifies nine areas that require intervention to create a conducive ecosystem:

Nurturing Research, Development, and Innovation

The policy suggests boosting gross expenditure on R&D to enhance basic research, expand the science base for deep tech startups, and cultivate a skilled scientific workforce. It will amend existing research assessment practices at academic institutes, to transform knowledge outputs into entrepreneurial outcomes. It targets enhancing technology commercialisation by fostering partnerships between academic institutions, research labs, and industry. Setting up an Open Science and Data Sharing platform could encourage collaboration and deep tech innovations.

Strengthening the Intellectual Property Regime

The policy plans to establish a single window platform that enables a Unified IP Framework, customised for deep tech startups. It will also offer guidance to streamline the patent application process and could create a unified database from all Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) containing publication, patent, and project information, among other relevant data. It intends to build in-house patent landscaping and FTO analysis capabilities among research institutes. It aims to strengthen India’s position in global IP-related conventions and cross-border IP protection.

Facilitating Access to Funding

The policy builds on existing initiatives and addresses challenges like fragmented funds, gestation period mismatches with market expectations, and payment delays causing working capital issues. It aims to create a platform to track government grant payments and direct Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to science-based research institutions. It plans to provide larger fund quanta per startup, allowing them to develop their technologies and reach product maturity within a reasonable timeframe.

Enabling Shared Infrastructure and Resource Sharing

Enabling access to shared infrastructure, for nominal fees as required, is important for reducing initial capital expenditure for startups. To increase the uptake of existing infrastructure and equipment, the policy suggests establishing a centralised platform and providing a single point of contact through institutional research/innovation councils in each institution.

Creating Conducive Regulations, Standards, and Certifications

The policy emphasises the need for regular multi-stakeholder consultations with regulators, deep tech startups, and industry representatives. It proposes creating regulatory sandboxes and providing subsidies and exemptions in certification and accreditation costs. The policy will define the level of international involvement in setting standards in India based on sectoral sensitivities and strategic implications.

Attracting Human Resources and Initiating Capacity Building

The policy recognises the importance of providing equal opportunities to entrepreneurs from Tier II/III cities and underrepresented communities. It insists on expanding skill enhancement grants, and incentivising venture capitalists to invest in female-led deep tech startups. It proposes mentorship programmes and a tenured exchange programme for students.

Promoting Procurement and Adoption

The policy builds on existing initiatives like relaxation of prior experience and turnover, to promote procurement and adoption of products from Indian deep tech startups. To achieve this, the policy advocates for the unbundling of projects and the promotion of quality-focused procurement for superior technological capabilities.

It also aims to include a user-led collaborative research and development model for developing Minimum Viable Products (MVP) and an assurance of a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) procurement to enable iterative development.

Ensuring Policy and Programme Interlinkages

The policy plans to create an Inter-Ministerial Deep Tech Committee to align objectives and implementation strategies. It aims to include deep tech startups in free trade agreements and foreign delegations. It focuses on reducing import dependencies and supply chain vulnerabilities.

Sustaining Deep Tech Startups

The policy suggests establishing a centralised core mission office to support deep tech startups’ growth. It will simplify approval procedures, enable IP protection, create awareness in Tier II and III cities, and design a monitoring mechanism based on mapping key performance indicators.


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