A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged technologists to bridge the gap between technology and human intention, Minister of Electronics & IT Ravi Shankar Prasad called for startups to play a major role in bridging the gaps between “haves and have-nots”. “Startup movement should reach out to the rural India and particularly 1 lakh villages being upgraded as digital villages through focused intervention of government,” Prasad said.
Speaking at the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) StartUp Summit, Prasad said there is compelling case for social startups and that these should be encouraged so they unleash their power in India’s changing digital narrative.
“I want Digital India platform to transform rural India and create aspirations in tier 3 and tier 4 cities and towns,” Prasad said. Citing success stories of technology platforms Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and GST Network, the minister said government entities such as NIC, STPI should also become competitive.
“For Digital India to succeed, the government entities must also become competitive. I have told National Informatics Centre that your people have to become competitive and innovative…they have changed. Software Technology Parks of India also must change,” the minister said.
He also called for India to become a centre for patent and intellectual property, adding patent clearance timelines should be brought down to a maximum of one year. Responding to industry’s concerns of patent clearances taking 4-5 years at times, the minister said “our patent clearance must be completed in a year’s time”.
The minister instructed senior officials in his department to digitally map innovative products by small entrepreneurs and artisans in villages across India to enable them to tap the domestic as well as the global market.
The initiative on having such a digital catalogue of enterprises and entrepreneurs should be coordinated by Common Service Centres, and other entities, he said.