16th October 2023, New Delhi: In a move that would augment innovation and funding in the deep-tech industry, the government will soon table a Cabinet note on the ‘draft national deep-tech policy’.
The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) has recommended the creation of a National Consortium and a Working Group that will propose a comprehensive policy framework to address the needs and strengthen the Indian deep tech startup ecosystem.
Chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, the apex-level National Consortium represents a broad spectrum of stakeholders. At the ‘Start-o-Vation’ event organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Sood said, “Start-ups in particular have room for growth, but it’s crucial for them to be truly innovative, paving the way for groundbreaking developments over the next few years. I want to highlight the National Deep Tech Startup Policy, a product of extensive stakeholder consultation, which builds upon the existing national startup policy. The aim is to fine-tune the startup policy to cater to the unique needs of deep tech ventures. We are moving a Cabinet note to this effect in consonance with DPIIT.”
Under the overall guidance of the National Consortium, steered by the Expert Working Group, a draft version of the National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) has been developed through an extensive multi-stakeholder consultative process involving startups, incubation centres, industry associations, academic institutions and relevant government agencies.
Deep tech ventures require deeper insights into funding, long-term sustainability, and other critical aspects. Through these policy interventions, we hope to bolster the deep tech startup ecosystem. Currently, there are approximately 11,000 such startups in sectors like space and quantum technology, and even telecommunications, he emphasised.
Speaking at the ‘Start-O-vation’ Summit, Nikhil Kanodia, Chairman of Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), commended the ICC for its enthusiastic efforts to foster and promote StartUp India, Make in India, and Atmanirbhar Bharat. The summit aims to bring together startup innovators, venture capitalists, high-net-worth individuals, industry leaders, and policymakers to exchange ideas and discover tomorrow’s unicorns.
“We welcome the government putting a dedicated focus on deep tech startups and committing significant time and resources to the cause. We are sure this policy will take the Indian deep tech startup ecosystem to the global scale,” Mr Kanodia said.
Among the steps proposed is the setting up of a dedicated ‘deep tech capital guidance’ fund in which the government, private limited partners and foreign investors anchor certain commitments to a new fund or an existing fund in the form of fund of fund (FoF) structure. The draft policy has identified 10 sub-sectors within deep tech including robotics, computer vision, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
The policy recommended providing for certain fiscal incentives such as tax rebates to attract domestic general partners and limited partners from the investor community, if they allocate a certain percentage of their corpus to deep tech startups.
This year’s Start-O-Vation Summit, in collaboration with Invest India, the national investment promotion agency, promises a fusion of policymakers, entrepreneurs, and investors, all working towards boosting the Indian startup ecosystem.
The summit has played a pivotal role in connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with industry experts since its inception in 2015, providing them with a platform to showcase their skills, ideas, and potential contributions to India’s economy through startup pitching events.
The theme of this year’s summit is based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2015 speech: “I see startups, technology, and innovation as exciting and effective instruments for India’s transformation.” In line with the current entrepreneurial landscape, the focus is shifting towards technology and product innovation, with the government’s Startup India initiative nurturing entrepreneurship, spurring innovation, and creating employment opportunities.
Start-O-Vation brought together more than 200 attendees, including founders, venture capitalists, state government representatives, financial institutions and policymakers. The event featured a series of panel discussions with esteemed speakers from various fields, including Padmashri Ajai Chowdari, Co-Founder, HCL; Bhawna Agarwal, Country Head, HPE and serial entrepreneur Mukesh Bansal.
The summit hosted panel discussions and startup pitching events, making it a dynamic platform for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and the recognition of promising startups. The government’s support for startups is discussed, including the government e-marketplace (GeM), which allows startups to sell products to the government. Aastha Gruber also mentions programs where startups can collaborate with various ministries to address specific challenges.