Govt has launched number of programs to aid Start-ups in technology sectors: Dr Jitendra Singh

Union Minister of State (independent leadership) Science and Technology; Minister of State (independent leadership) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Human Resources, Public Complaints, Pensions, Nuclear Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said the government has launched a series of programs to support start-ups in technology sectors. Initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the programs aim to promote innovation and technology-oriented entrepreneurship, which also creates new avenues for wealth and job creation.

In a statement submitted to the Lok Sabha in response to a question about programs supporting start-ups in the technology sector, Dr. Jitendra Singh in line with Prime Minister’s Vision on Innovation and Start-up India, National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) program was initiated in 2016-17 which aims to turn knowledge-based and technology-driven innovative ideas into successful start-ups to convert

The Minister shared that CSIR established 7 Joint Research and Technology Development Centers (CRTDHs) over the past five years to promote industrial R&D innovation dedicated to MSMEs, start-ups and individual innovators. The CSIR Laboratories continuously provide training in various fields for undergraduate, postgraduate and research students. They are also involved in delivering industry oriented training/skills programs which are well received by users.

The NIDHI program has various components such as providing scholarships to students who choose to pursue entrepreneurship through the Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIR) program, the PRAYAS (Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring Innovators and Startups) program the provision of financial support for turning ideas into prototypes, the availability of early-stage seed support funding for startups, the provision of mentoring and investment readiness support through accelerators to startups, and the creation of a state-of-the-art infrastructure for launching startups in technology sectors through Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) and Centers of Excellence (CoE). To date, more than 50 NIDHI TBIs and 7 NIDHI CoEs have been established in the country.

The Department of Science & Technology (DST) also initiated the National Mission for Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS). As part of the mission implementation, 25 Technology Innovation Hubs (TIHs) have been established in renowned institutes across the country for advanced technologies. One of the main activities of the mission is to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and start-ups in emerging areas of technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), Robotics, IoT (Internet of Things), etc.

Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), provides financial support in the form of loans or equity and/or exceptional grants to industrial companies and others attempting to commercialize or adapt indigenous technologies imported technology for broader domestic applications. Companies/start-ups can apply for partial funding of their project for commercialization throughout the year.

The DPIIT Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) aims to provide startups with financial support for proof of concept, prototyping, product testing, market entry and commercialization. The program enables startups to reach a level where they can raise investments from angel investors or venture capitalists, or apply for loans from commercial banks or financial institutions.

The Department of Biotechnology supports and promotes start-ups in the biotechnology sector through the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). The most important programs are BioNESTscheme (Bio incubators Nurturing Entrepreneurship for Scaling Technologies) and Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) programs. Through this program, BIRAC has supported 60 incubators in 18 states across the country and supported more than 1500 founders.

Atal Innovation Mission has set up Atal Incubation Centers (AIC) to incubate startups in different sectors. It has also launched the Atal New India Challenge (ANIC) program to directly support start-ups with technology-based innovations that solve sectoral challenges of national importance and societal relevance.

Innovations for Defense Excellence (iDEX) was created by the Department of Defense Production of the Department of Defense with the aim of achieving self-reliance and promoting innovation and technological development in defense and aerospace by involving industries, R&D institutes and academia included and provided grants to conduct R&D. The startups will receive up to Rs 1.50 crore as a grant to develop innovative prototypes. You also get tremendous support from iDEX’s partner incubators at IITs, IIMs and other private incubators spread across the country.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) launched the Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE 2.0) program to promote tech entrepreneurship through financial and technical support to incubators supporting ICT startups, the new Technologies like IoT, AI, Blockchain, etc. MeitY’s Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS) has a solution-oriented architecture and aims to launch 300 tech startups in Tier 2/3 cities over a 3-year period with a total budget of Rs. 95.03 crores.

dr Jitendra Singh shared that the government has recognized technology as a key factor in efficiently delivering services to its beneficiaries. Government departments regularly assess the barriers, challenges and missing links in their technology-oriented service programs and seek to address identified challenges through the development of new programs.

BIRAC, DBT has identified some barriers to R&D advancement such as: for the biotech sector, able to work with the center and states to create an investment-friendly ecosystem that strongly supports the domestic investor and foreign direct investment. It also resolves issues with high-level intervention by the Empowered Group of Secretary (EGoS). The National Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) for the biotech sector facilitates regulatory support through the single window system and promotes ease of doing business.

With the launch of the Digital India program along with the rapid pace of digitization and penetration of mobile phones and access to the Internet, the more transparent and efficient adoption of technology in the delivery of services has been enabled. Government initiatives such as the COWIN app to efficiently manage the immunization program; Enabling implementation of GST through IT tools, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) are some shining examples of technology adoption and efficient service delivery.

The national mission of the DST to ICPS (National Mission to the Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical System) includes central ministries, state governments, industry and science as stakeholders. The mission has important components on the development of human resources and skills in advanced and futuristic technologies, in addition to the main focus on the development of advanced technologies, translation and commercialization. Support under the DST NM-ICPS and DST-NIDHI programs is provided to non-profit entities in the form of corporations or Section 8 corporations to ensure enhanced autonomy in rapid decision-making and to provide an enabling environment for startup growth create.

The government has initiated programs to encourage industry participation in research and development activities. DST has established an Industry Relevant R&D Program (IRRD) through the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), which aims to leverage the expertise available in academic institutions and national laboratories to address industry-specific problems for the greater benefit of society to solve. Government and industry have jointly developed the Prime Minister’s Scholarships Scheme to attract talent for doctoral research, foster leadership in scientists and encourage industrial research in academic institutions. The scheme envisages awarding up to 100 new scholarships each year at up to Rs 8.7 lakh per year per candidate. DST, through its Clean Energy Research Initiative, has facilitated industry participation in the development of technologies through collaborative industry research and development. Some of the research areas are: methanol production from the Indian coal, hydrogen and fuel cell program to encourage industry participation, development of photocatalytic membranes for simultaneous water disinfection and filtration, etc.

(With inputs from PIB)

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