Role of government in driving innovation and product development

The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) is celebrating its 29th Foundation Day today.

At the inaugural session, Dr Rajendra Kumar, Additional Secretary , Ministry of Electronics and IT (RK) welcomed the delegates stating that we should all work together to achieve the vision of a digital economy. Rajneesh Agarwal, Director, STPI Noida, who moderated the session, said that STPI is a premier government organization working for the promotion of IT.

Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India, said that the various state governments have been working for the promotion of the startup ecosystem. It can be presented with a very organized IT policy so that they can become a world-class startup ecosystem. Once recognized, startups are given lot of benefits. India has also been facing challenges in getting a market. Government has to play a role in helping them. Ministries can engage and give them a start. The SME community has to also give a list of problems that can be solved. Then, startups can become self-reliant and strong. They can also export their services.

STPI

The Atal Innovation Mission is one of the initiatives that has been taken up. STPI is working very closely with state governments, academia and industry. There should be professional guidance given to the Centers of Excellence. We have to run challenge-run programs. Whatever products that the startups create, we need to ensure that the Government is the largest consumer.

He added that the upcoming startups are very agile. The growth rate is also very high. Cost is also very less, which is an advantage. The cost to create IPR is also very less. We should also create a world-class technology infrastructure. The policy envisages that India should become a leading software product market by 2025. This number has to be achieved. It will encourage the upcoming startups. We are on the cusp of revolutionizing the startups ecosystem, and also compete with the USA and China.

Rajneesh Agarwal added that we require policy, infrastructure, etc. We started CoEs across the country. One of them was started in Delhi for the ESDM sector, we started the Electropreneur Park.

Ameerpet success story
Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) , Government of Telangana, said that STPI has set up IT tech parks at Ameerpet, Hyderabad. We have created a separate track for support. If you do innovation, you get more support. This requires a very holistic approach. Policies alone will not suffice. There are four pillars – policy, pillar, institutions and hand-holding.

We have now set up the largest incubator. T-Hub is startup incubator headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, making it the largest incubator in a single location in India. We also have an institution called TASK. All 200-odd engineering and professional colleges are part of this. We encourage students to create and convert projects. They have to build business plan development. RICH, another institute, brings the knowledge-based institutions together. We also have an institution for emerging technologies. We have created seven institutions. We have close to 250 people in these institutions.

We have provided support supervision. We should give them lots of hand-holding support. People are asking what sort of help can government provide. If you are operating within Telengana, the government will be the first customer. We will create a market for you, and also buy from you, at a price. In the last three years, 37 local solutions have been rolled out. Digitization, and getting more innovative products in the market is the next goal. We have started a series of CoEs.

Ideas for Odisha
Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary Electronics & IT, Government of Odisha, congratulated everyone on the 29th Foundation Day of the STPI. The 1991 policy of liberalization is manifested into the STPI. Odisha is thankful to STPI. In many areas, the private sector is better. We have to combine with them for developing the infrastructure. We also have an Electropreneur Park. We have received lots of ideas within the pandemic.

In terms of initiatives, we have an excellent Fab Lab. We are looking at democratizing the market. We will have mini Fab Labs. People should be able to access all Fab Labs. The pandemic has been a disruptor. At the same time, the IT industry is very well connected. There will be different kinds of products. Product development will also have to come up. WFH has thrown us a lot of challenges. A lot of products can now come up.

Follow Israel’s lead
Keshav R. Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS Global Services, and former Chairman, Nasscom, said the creation of STPI was one of the most important decisions ever made. In 2019, India moved up to 52 rank, up from 81 in minimizing the risks for foreign countries. We are ranked third in the world for technology development.

Every area of technology, AI, IoT, 3D printing, quantum computing, etc., are the areas of growth where India is working. The state and central governments are partnering with the industry to develop talent. There is a huge fillip being provided to the IT/BPM sector. The government is treating IT as an essential industry. IT has kept the lights on across the globe. WFH is the new normal. We have fast-forwarded the future inside a few days.

There are a lot of good examples for us to take from Israel. Over 300 MNCs have all tapped into Israeli innovation and R&D labs. Israeli companies do not rest on their laurels. They invest further! We need to set up a similar kind of environment. How can they intermingle and create new solutions? The Indian Government has opened up the strategic sector in India. That may be one of the first steps.

Investing more in some of the new areas will serve us extremely well. One recommendation made by Nasscom made in Budget 2020 was – how do we foster the way of working post-pandemic? We need to be recognized for fostering innovation. We need to reskill the population, in order to lead. Every company will want to come to India. The most important thing for us is to have boldness. We need to take the Indian IT industry from $191 billion to over $500 billion in the years ahead.

Rajneesh Agarwal concluded, adding that the success of IT is the success for the country. The vision of our policymakers is also laudable. It will enable the Indian technologists to move forward. How can startups be more involved in the economy? We can generate a market for India.

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