Backbone of new India: 10 key highlights of PM Modi’s interaction with startups

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According to a report in Money Control, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 15 interacted with more than 150 startups via video-conferencing and described them as the “backbone” of his vision of new India.

The startups, who were divided into six working groups, gave a presentation to Modi on the following six points – nudging the DNA, from local to global, technology of future, building champions in manufacturing, and sustainable development, the report said.

The startup executives who spoke during the presentations shared their ideas and inputs on areas such as robust data collection mechanism in agriculture, making India preferred agribusiness hub, boosting healthcare through use of technology, tackling issues of mental health, promoting travel and tourism through innovations like virtual tours, ed-tech and job identification, among others.

Here are the key highlights from the prime minister’s address to the startup leaders:

  • Modi said the government will be celebrating January 16 as “National Start-up Day to take the startup culture to the far-flung areas of the country”.
  • He listed three aspects of the government’s efforts to promote startups: “first, to liberate entrepreneurship, innovation from the web of government processes, and bureaucratic silos; second, creating an institutional mechanism to promote innovation; third, handholding of young innovators and young enterprises”.
  • “Our startups are changing the rules of the game. That’s why I believe startups are going to be the backbone of new India.”
  • “Last year, 42 unicorns came up in the country. These companies worth thousands of crores of rupees are the hallmark of self-reliant and self-confident India,” the prime minister underlined.
  • “Today India is rapidly moving towards hitting the century of the unicorns. I believe the golden era of India’s startups is starting now,” he added.
  • The prime minister mentioned that currently there is at least one startup in each of the 625 districts of the country and more than half of the startups are from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. “These are converting ideas from ordinary poor families into businesses and lakhs of young Indians are getting employment,” he said.
  • Modi said the startups should aim at reaching out to the global market as well. “Don’t just keep your dreams local, make them global. Remember this mantra- let’s Innovate for India, innovate from India,” he exhorted the innovators.
  • The prime minister, while suggesting areas where startups can play a major role, listed the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, defence manufacturing, chip manufacturing, urban planning and drone sector, among others. “‘From rural economy to Industry 4.0, both our needs and our potential are limitless. Investment on research and development related to future technology is the priority of the government today,” he said.
  • Modi noted that half of the country’s population is online, and therefore startups should also focus on villages. “Whether it is mobile internet, broadband connectivity or physical connectivity, aspirations of villages are rising and rural and semi-urban areas are waiting for a new wave of expansion,” he said.
  • Assuring the startups of full government support, Modi concluded the interaction by stating: “I am standing with you, the government is with you and the entire country is standing with you.”

The prime minister’s interaction with startup executives assumes significance, as the startups are considered to be a key constituent of the economy. Indian startups raised $42 billion in 2021, up from $11.5 billion in the previous year, the report said.

Some of the top startups in the country are ShareChat, Cred, Meesho, Nazara, Moglix, MPL, Grofers (now Blinkit), upGrad, Mamaearth, GlobalBees, Acko, Spinny and others.

With a total of 90 unicorns, India is the third-largest unicorn hub behind the US, which has 487 such entities and China with 301. (Money Control)