Friday , September 17 2021

English rendering of PM’s address at ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’

Young energy, young dreams are so profound, so vast that you all are the best examples. Right now, I was listening and watching all of you very carefully. This confidence should remain the same. Imagine the range of start-ups! One was talking about a carbon fiber 3D printer start-up, while another was talking about satellite launch vehicles. Whatever you mentioned about your start-ups from e-toilets to biodegradable PPE kits and from diabetes medicine to brick laying machine and AR technology for persons with disabilities, shows that you have the great power to change the future.

Another change that is now visible is that earlier if a youth launched any start-up, people used to say ‘Why don’t you do a job? Why a start-up? But now people say – ‘Job is alright, but why don’t you create your own start-up’? And the first reaction to seeing young people who are already in start-ups is: ‘Wow, it is your start-up’! These changes are a major strength of BIMSTEC countries, i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, which have taken inspiration for development from the Bay of Bengal. The same energy is visible whether it is the start-ups of India or BIMSTEC countries. Joining me in the programme, hon’ble Ministers of BIMSTEC countries,  Zunaid Ahmed Palakji from Bangladesh, Lyonpo Loknath Sharmaji from Bhutan, U Thaung Tun ji from Myanmar, Lekhraj Bhattji from Nepal, Namal Rajapaksaji from Sri Lanka and Tenzin Lekphel ji, Secretary General of BIMSTEC, my colleagues in the Cabinet, Piyush Goyalji, Prakash Javadekarji, Hardeep Puriji, Som Prakashji, present here from the industry, Uday Shankarji, President of FICCI, Uday Kotakji, Sanjeev Mehtaji, Dr. Sangeeta Reddyji, Subhrakant Pandaji, Sandeep Somaniji, Harsh Mariwalaji, Singhaniaji, all other dignitaries and my young colleagues from the start-up world!

Today is the day of many ‘Prarambh’ (beginnings) for all of us. Today, the first start-up conclave of the BIMSTEC nations is being held; today the Start-up India movement is completing its successful five years; and today India has launched the most historic, largest vaccine drive against Corona. The day is a witness to the abilities of our scientists, youth and entrepreneurs and the hard work and service of our doctors, nurses and the people involved in the health sector. Armed with the experiences we all have had from the fight against Corona to developing vaccines, our youth and entrepreneurs from BIMSTEC countries are joining this Prarambh Summit today. Therefore, this summit becomes even more important. I am told that you have had many important discussions in these two days, shared your start-up success stories and created new opportunities for mutual cooperation. The winners of the 12 sectors in which start-up awards were launched by the country have also been announced. I congratulate all of you for these awards.

Friends,

This century is a century of digital revolution and new age innovations. And this century is also called the Century of Asia. And therefore, it is the need of the time that future technology emerges from Asia’s labs and future entrepreneurs are made from here.  For this, those countries in Asia will have to come forward and take responsibility who can work together and work for each other and also have the resources and the spirit of cooperation. Therefore, this responsibility naturally comes to the BIMSTEC countries. The shared heritage of our centuries-old relationships our culture and civilization have kept us all together. We share our ideas and so we can share our ideas even more. We share each other’s happiness and sorrows, so our success will also be shared. At the same time, we are working together for one fifth population of the world. We also have the collective strength of 3.8 trillion dollar GDP. I see new possibilities for the whole world in the energy of our youth and their impatience in writing their own destiny.

Friends,

That is why I said at the BIMSTEC summit in 2018 that all of us will come together in the field of technology and innovation. I also talked about the BIMSTEC Start-Up Conclave. All of us have gathered at this platform of Startup India International Conclave today to realize this resolution. All BIMSTEC countries are already working continuously to enhance mutual connectivity and hasten trade relations. In 2018, BIMSTEC ministers participated in the India Mobile Congress to enhance digital connectivity. Similarly, we are working together in the fields of defense, disaster management, space, environment, agriculture, trade, etc. When these areas become stronger and modernized, our start-ups will also benefit. This is a value creation cycle. That is, we are strengthening our relationships in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and business, creating new opportunities for our start-ups. And the stronger our start-ups are, the faster the growth will be in all our sectors.

Friends,

On an individual basis, all start-ups here are sharing their experiences with each other. But in such a huge journey of change, every country also has its own experiences. India has also released a booklet called ‘Evolution of Startup India’ today to share its five years of experience. I want every BIMSTEC country to share its experiences with each other from time to time. Your experiences will help us all learn. For example, look at India’s five-year Start-up journey. When the Start-up India mission was launched, we also had many challenges. But today India is one of the largest start-up ecosystems in the world. Today, more than 41,000 start-ups are engaged in some mission or the other in our country. Of these, more than 5,700 start-ups are in the IT sector, more than 3,600 start-ups have been formed in the health sector and about 1,700 start-ups have been launched in the agriculture sector.

Friends,

These start-ups are also changing the demographic characteristics of business today. Today, 44 per cent of recognized start-ups in India have women as directors, and a large number of women are also working in them. Today, the youth who come from the general economic background are also able to realize their talents and their thinking. The results are also before us today. In 2014, only 4 start-ups in India were in the Unicorn club, but today more than 30 start-ups have crossed the one billion mark. You will be surprised that our 11 start-ups have joined the Unicorn club in the year 2020 only. That is, in this difficult year of Corona!

Friends,

India also launched the ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ campaign during the difficult times of the pandemic. Our start-ups are also playing a big role in it today. When the world’s big companies were struggling for their survival, a new army of start-ups was getting ready in India during the pandemic. The country needed sanitizers, PPE kits, supply chains; and our start-ups played a big role in it. Local start-ups emerged for local needs. One start-up worked to provide kitchen essentials to customers, whereas someone started doorstep delivery of medicines. If a start-up provided transportation resources for frontline workers, the other created the online study material. That is, these start-ups also discovered ‘opportunity in adversity’, and also strengthened faith in distress.

Friends,

Today these success stories of start-ups are not limited to big cities only. You see, today eight start-ups that have been awarded are not from metro cities, but from smaller towns. Somebody is from Lucknow, Bhopal, Sonipat, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, because today every state in India is a partner in the Start-up India mission. Every state is supporting and incubating start-ups according to their local prospects. And, as a result, today, 80 per cent of India’s districts have joined the Start-up movement. Forty-five per cent of our startups today come from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, acting as brand ambassadors for local products.

Friends,

Today, the awareness about health and eating habits among the people, resulting in healthy changes, is also creating new opportunities for start-ups. In a way, if there is an evergreen sector today, it is the food and agriculture sector. Special emphasis is being given to the growth of these sectors in India. The country has also created an Agri Infra fund of one lakh crore rupees to modernize the agriculture-related infrastructure. This has opened up new avenues for our start-ups. Today start-ups are collaborating with farmers. Start-ups are also playing their part to make the food products accessible to consumers from farms in a better quality.

Friends,

The USP of our start-up world is its disruption and diversification capacity. It is disruptive because these start-ups are giving rise to new approaches, new technology and new modalities today. Our start-ups are changing the idea of following the same beaten track. And the second is diversification. You see so many start-ups are emerging today and with all the different ideas. These start-ups are revolutionizing every sector. The scale and substance of our start-ups today is unprecedented. And above all, it is the passion which is guiding these start-ups more than pragmatism. Whenever there is a new challenge in any field, somebody comes out with a start-up and takes up cudgels. India is also working with the same start-up spirit today. Earlier, whenever there was a new situation or something new had to be done, it was asked, ‘Who will do it?’ But today the country itself says that ‘We will do it’. Whether it is digital payments, construction of solar sector, or AI revolution, the country did not ask ‘Who will do it’? The country decided — ‘We will do it’. And the results are in front of all of us today. Today BHIM UPI has revolutionized the payment system. In December itself, more than Rs. 4 lakh crore transactions in India have been done through UPI. India is moving towards leading the world in solar sectors. According to a recent study, the use of AI in India has also grown very fast in comparison to the world’s developed countries.

Friends,

Just as start-ups provide solutions by breaking barriers in any field, India is breaking old barriers in every sector today. Today, the poor in the country, the farmers and the students are getting financial assistance directly into their accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). It has also relieved the common man of hardships, and has also prevented leakages of about two lakh crore rupees in the country. Similarly, today, more government and banking related services are available on mobile phones under the Digital India scheme. These changes in the country are also being felt by our start-ups.

Today, a start-up is getting the same opportunity as a large company in government tenders through the GeM portal. So far, about 8,000 start-ups have registered on the GeM portal, and they have also done business of about Rs. 2300 crores. The total trade on GeM portal is reaching around Rs 80,000 crore today. The share of start-ups will further increase in the near future. If this money reaches our start-ups, local manufacturing will also increase, a large number of youth will also get employment, and start-ups will invest more in research and innovation.

Friends,

The country has taken a number of steps to avoid capital crunch for our start-ups. As part of this, I am making another important announcement in this programme today. The country is launching a Start-up India Seed Fund worth 1,000 crore rupees to provide initial capital to start-ups. This will help start and grow new start-ups. Start-ups are already being helped to raise equity capital through the Fund of Funds scheme. Further, the government will also help start-ups raise debt capital through guarantees.

Friends,

India is trying to create a start-up ecosystem, the basis of which will be Of the Youth, By the Youth, For the Youth. Through the Start-up India campaign, our youth have created a strong foundation in these five years. Now we have to set a target for the next five years. And the goal should be that our start-ups and unicorns should emerge as global giants and they should lead in futuristic technologies. If these resolutions become the collective resolutions of all the BIMSTEC countries, a large population will benefit from it, the lives of the people of all countries will be better. When I see and hear the success stories of start-ups from BIMSTEC partner countries, my happiness increases further. My good wishes to all start-ups in BIMSTEC countries. I am confident that together we will ensure a new identity to start-ups across the region and will realize the world the power of start-ups in BIMSTEC countries in this new decade.  With these good wishes, thank you all very much and wish you all the best.

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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