New opportunities also extend to electronics, deep tech and quantum computing among others, the minister said during the seventh edition of the ET Startup Awards 2021 event held in Bengaluru today.
“If you are an unbiased observer of nations, India is today one of the preeminent countries in the use of technology and at the forefront of innovation. We will lead the charge towards Web 3 and all innovations around the internet.”, he said during an interactive session with ET’s Surabhi Agarwal.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on “Techade”, Chandrasekhar said the healthy push towards innovation in India will be delivered by improvements in electronics and system design, semi- conductors, artificial intelligence, deep technology and quantum computing.
India announced a semiconductor policy late last year, offering incentives for investment in chipmaking. The minister said the push towards a holistic innovation economy also stems from a global search to find alternatives to China’s dominance in these areas.
On the various issues regarding data protection policy and frameworks being debated at the Centre, the Minister sought to assure the business community that policy makers would ensure that the rules do not become roadblocks: “We We won’t do anything knee-jerk or even remotely as a speed bump to retard momentum in the startup ecosystem today. That in itself is a clarity…”
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Talking about the startup ecosystem, Chandrasekhar said the Indian community has come a long way from where it was before 2014, with the government creating an environment for startups to thrive. The minister quoted a Credit Suisse report to point out that access to capital in the Indian trading system has grown enormously. “The government will continue to expand these opportunities.”
On a related question about the rush of startup IPOs and the subsequent drop in share prices of some of these companies, Chandrasekhar said companies should diversify their sources of funding, and hitting the public markets is a route tested.
Chandrasekhar said the government’s push for Aadhaar and its integration into the Unified Payments Interface has spawned a fintech economy that is now exploding in full swing: “This model of government accelerating the digital-citizen interface has been a tremendous force multiplier for the ecosystem.”
On concerns about the lack of clarity in the categorization of businesses under data protection law, the minister said the reality of data protection policy-making is “somewhere in between”. lack of protection of individual privacy and an absolutist view of privacy.
Regarding the uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency and the government’s decision to launch a digital currency, Chandrasekhar said in general terms that cryptocurrency buyers should be careful to make purchases through an RBI-approved channel and ensure they do not violate FEMA and other regulations.
The seventh edition of the awards held today in Bengaluru recognized food delivery, catering and restaurant discovery service Zomato as the Startup of the Year 2021. Info Edge’s Sanjeev Bikchandini won the Midas Touch award in the High Level Investor category, while ZestMoney’s Lizzie Chapman received the Woman Ahead award at today’s event.