Make in India: All Talk, No Show?
What’s Happening to the Government’s Plan for Startup India?
PM Modi launched his ambitious Startup India program last year.But what progress has the government actually made in promoting the startups in India since PM Modi’s Make in India launch in September 2014? Obviously, a slew of programs were announced under this plan. Let’s have a look at the status of some of these.
Annual Incubator Grand Challenge
This program was aimed at finding and supporting incubators that are helping in the tech and development domain. As per this challenge, top 10 incubators were to be identified on the basis of their potential of becoming world leaders. A sum of INR 10 crores was announced to each of these incubators who could use this money to advance its infrastructure and service offerings.
Progress until now: No data could be found on the selected incubators or the progress made till now.
Setting up Research Parks
In the bid to support and augment the incubator and R&D scene, the government had also announced setting up/ scaling up of total 31 centers for innovation and entrepreneurship development at certain national institutes like IIT.
Progress until now: Some such centers were already existing like the ones at IIT-Chennai and Jamia. But no new data could be found.
Promoting Startups in the Biotechnology Sector
As per the announcement, 5 new Bio-clusters, 50 new Bio-Incubators, 150 technology transfer offices and 20 Bio-Connect offices were to be set up in different research centers and education universities across the country.
Progress until now: A couple of days ago, Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, announced that the Department of Science and Technology had pledged to invest INR 500 crores to speed up the setting up of these centers. The department aims to complete setting them up in next 5 years.
NITI Aayog- SETU
As per Modi’s action plan, NITI was to initiate setting up 500 school labs and 100 incubator centers across India to encourage innovation. The effort was focused at SETU (Self-employment and Talent Utilization) program.But until now, it has nothing to show.
Progress until now:Recently a parliamentary committee rebuked NITI Ayog for their inability to showcase any progress even after an year. SETU, which was announced in 2015-16 budget, was aimed at supporting innovations in fintech sector. Rs. 1000 crores were set aside for the same. NITI Vice-chairman, Arvind Panagariya, now plans to make a 15-year vision document, seven-year strategy plan and three-year action plan for the same.
NATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR DEVELOPING AND HARNESSING INNOVATIONS (NIDHI)
It was one of the Grand Challenge Programs aimed at supporting 20 student innovations with further development. INR 10 lacs were to be given to each of the 20 student innovations.
Progress until now:As per the latest updates, the government has approved six centers of excellence to promote and fund the winners of this scheme. But no list of the winners or short-listed innovations could be found.
Since 2014’s announcement, nothing substantial has happened which can be written about. Instead,what has happened is many new policies under this program have ‘cropped- up’ and more money has been fueled in. But even after so much expenditure and programs, no substantial list of beneficiaries or even early-stage selections could be found. The parliamentary panel that rebuked NITI proposed that any budget-related announcements should be made only after detailed planning and setting of goals. Until the government agencies start taking such advices seriously, we will keep waiting for the fruition of Make in India.
What are your views on the state of development? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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