India’s success with innovation, entrepreneurship, electronics manufacturing as well as its digital clout is just the “tip” of a massive growth opportunity before the country, and the nation has the ability to scale to one lakh unicorns and almost 10-20 lakh startups in future, according to Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Chandrasekhar — who completes two years as Minister of State for Electronics and IT — said the India Stack and the digital public infrastructure built by the country, have demonstrated to the world how technology can be deployed for good, to benefit people, society and communities, and the country at large. The extent of digitalisation of government, governance and economy is going to “accelerate even more”, Chandrasekhar promised. The last two years have seen Chandrasekhar keeping a razor-sharp focus on driving India’s digital agenda and work on measures to promote electronics and semiconductor manufacturing in the country.
He has also been deeply involved with key pieces of legislation – the draft Digital India Bill, which is in-the-works, and the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, which was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday and is expected to be introduced during the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament. The minister said that India’s strides in global tech and digital space are just the beginning, and there is tremendous headroom to grow. “So I think there is a lot of headroom to grow. We talk about 100-104 unicorns and 1 lakh startups. The target is really one lakh unicorns and almost 10 to 20 lakh startups. That is a kind of opportunity that India techade really represents for young Indians. I am excited, that I am getting to contribute to that jouney of this country…,” he told PTI in an interview.
Asked about the timeframe for the startup economy to scale to such targets, the minister said the slope and trajectory of technology make it difficult to predict specific timelines. “I am confident from what I hear and see when I travel to universities and colleges…What we are seeing in India innovation ecosystem today which we characterise and describe as about 104 unicorns and 1 lakh startups, is just the tip of the iceberg. Given our talent, and the extent of investment that Prime Minister is making in skilling and talent develoment…sky is limit in terms of where we can create entrepreneurship,” he said
He said the target of 1 lakh unicorns “is very doable”. The minister noted that India is becoming a force to reckon with in global value chains for electronics. “We are laying down markers in the ground to say this new India will be a significant player in trusted global value chains for electronics and semiconductors in the coming decade. That is not a small ambition to have,” he added.