NEW DELHI: Startups just a few years old are making a huge contribution to India in terms of technology development and IP creation, a Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official said on Wednesday.
Kishore Babu, deputy general manager of the DoT, said there is a greater scope for collaboration among local startups, in addition to partnerships with companies around the world.
“If you look at the type of platform innovation, technological innovation, science and technology-based development as well as intellectual property creation, you have seen companies that have no less than five or six years, but with them we have many members who have brought decades of experience from centers of excellence created by global companies and many experiences to make these collaborative journeys possible,” Babu said during a industry event.
The head of the telecommunications department said the government had proposed that 5% of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) be considered for research and development (R&D) funding “particularly to innovate in new technologies to make technologies and services affordable”.
Babu said companies can obtain test spectrum from the telecom department for R&D purposes for an annual fee of $70 (~Rs 5,220).
“This is perhaps one of the easiest ways available in the world. Through self-declaration, you can get spectrum in India, for all your R&D needs with $70 per year. Any band of spectrum for testing or demonstration purposes for R&D purposes including manufacturing.The aim is to remove unnecessary barriers…to make India a better India.
Deepak Bagla, managing director and CEO of Invest India, pointed out that the growth of unicorn startups in India has been “unprecedented” even amid lockdowns driven by Covid-19.
“In 2020, even in the midst of this unprecedented lockdown, we added a unicorn almost every 30-31 days. In 2021, India added a unicorn every 10 days, in fact every nine and a half days. And this year, we just got into the first 50 days of this year, we added a unicorn every five days,” Bagla said. “I think at the rate we’re going by the end of next year, we’ll have 150 startups,” he said.
The term “unicorn” refers to a private start-up company valued at over $1 billion.
The Narendra Modi-led government has allocated Rs 283.5 crore to the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme in the 2022-23 Union Budget, while the allocation for the Startup Fund Fund (FFS) stood at Rs 1,000 crore.
The government has set up a fund of funds for startups with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is the operating agency of the FFS.