J&K’s startup policy focuses on encouraging women-led startups by offering unique incentives: Jitendra Singh
Srinagar: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh Wednesday said that J&K's startup policy focuses on encouraging women-led startups.
A statement of Singh issued here said that at the inauguration of the three-day 'Kashmir Expo Start-ups for Livelihood' in Srinagar, Singh said that J&K’s startup policy focuses on encouraging women-led startups by offering unique incentives, establishing a complete complaint-handling system for startups, and creating entrepreneurial knowledge cells at higher education institutions to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.
He said that J&K’s startup policy also focuses on assisting student entrepreneurs.
Singh, who is also Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Science and MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Space and Atomic Energy, said that these steps could help boost the startup movement and increase the number of startups in J&K.
He said that J&K had a huge potential of becoming the hub of agri-tech startups and technology could help value add to the products from the region with its immense biodiversity.
The expo is being organised under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI) in association with the National Innovation Foundation-India.
In this three-day exhibition, youth who have started with innovation in various fields would also come to display their products, technology, and services.
Singh highlighted major sectors like agriculture, biomedical engineering, and telemedicine that could be the prime focus areas for startups in J&K and said that the area was fast evolving.
He said that it was necessary to inspire entrepreneurial brains by making the youth aware of the government support available to them based on their talent so that they could generate their earning opportunities and become job creators.
“Bamboo grown in the state can be converted to several useful products including incense sticks (agarbati) while the shelf life of fruits like apples and strawberries can be increased with innovative technologies,” Singh said.
The inauguration of the three-day event, which is the first-ever startup expo organised in Kashmir, was attended by vice chancellors of various universities, educators, entrepreneurs, government officials, scientists, and other stakeholders and could go a long way to encourage youth toward a vibrant startup culture in J&K.
“Since the launch of the Startup India initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16, 2016, the Indian ecosystem has grown to become the third largest in the world. The 30 states and union territories with their dedicated startup policies can go a long way to take the country to new heights,” Singh said.
He said India had emerged as one of the fastest-growing innovation ecosystems over the last decade.
“While most of the countries seem to follow an obvious innovation trend that is proportional to the development levels, India seems to have evolved as an exception,” Singh said. “India has climbed to the 40th rank in the global innovation index from the 81st position. This is a huge leap of 41 places in 7 years.”
He emphasised that science and technology-based entrepreneurship was taking on a bigger role in India's innovation landscape as a result of the country's increased emphasis on startup policies, the growth of its innovation ecosystem, and the rising willingness among the scientists and engineers to explore this route.
Emphasising the need to connect startups with the industry right from the beginning and make them sustainable, Singh talked about the need for an integrated approach and theme-based projects so that inspired youth could take the country to the zenith in the next 25 years.
He elaborated on how the Department of Science and Technology (DST) had played a catalytic role in fostering science, technology, and innovation-led entrepreneurship across the country through various programmes and interventions by creating an environment conducive to continued innovation.
Singh said that aligning with Startup India, National Initiative, DST launched a programme National Initiative of Developing and Harnessing Innovation (NIDHI) in 2016 as a framework to offer a start-to-scale start-up support programme.
He said that NIDHI was powered by an array of value-added programmes and offered a range of funding support at various stages of the startup journey, from fellowship to prototyping, and seed to acceleration support.
Singh underlined that DST was also a leading player during the COVID-19 crisis and building an Atma Nirbhar (self-reliant) India was at the forefront of innovation and job creation.
“Thus, despite the economic distress caused by the pandemic, Indian entrepreneurs have evolved themselves to navigate these challenging times with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, which includes DST, DBT, and CSIR,” he said.
Secretary DST S Chandrasekhar stressed the need for the creation of an ecosystem of innovation throughout the country and nurturing of startups and beneficiaries in the remotest corners of the country.
He said that the startups in J&K could work with the different IIMs that could help them take their products to the global markets.
Some science popularisation magazines and books in Urdu and Kashmiri language by Vigyan Prasar and the Central University of Kashmir were also released on the occasion.
The expo, which showcased indigenous quality products and entrepreneurial talent from J&K as well as from different parts of India, could help motivate the local youth and students to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and contribute to social upliftment and new job opportunities, and economic development of the region.
Singh also visited the exhibition showcasing several innovations at the Kashmir Expo.