India ranks globally 3rd in the startup ecosystem and also in terms of the number of unicorns. As per the latest data, there are currently 105 unicorns, out of which 44 were born in 2021 and 19 in 2022.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh disclosed this while delivering the keynote address at “DST StartUp Utsav” at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre here.
The Minister said the current decade 2021-30 is expected to bring transformational changes to Indian science, technology, and innovation (STI). Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has increased the gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) more than three times in the last few years and as per the latest data, India has over 5 lakh R&D personnel, a number that has shown a 40-50% increase in the last eight years.
In the last eight years, Dr. Singh said, women’s participation in extramural R&D has also doubled, and now India occupies 3rd rank in terms of the number of PhDs awarded in science and engineering (S&E) after the USA and China. With the shifting global powers and technology becoming the epicentre of international engagements and rulemaking, India under Modi is living up to global benchmarks.
Recalling Prime Minister Modi’s launch of Startup India from the ramparts of Red Fort in 2015, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India in its 75th year of Independence is now home to as many as 75,000 startups. His special focus on science, technology, and innovation has fired the imagination of the youth in the country to innovate and solve problems with new ideas.
He also pointed out that India’s startups today are not limited to only metros or big cities and said that 49 percent of the start-ups are from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The country has startups emerging in the fields like IT, agriculture, aviation, education, energy, health, and space sectors.
Dr Jitendra Singh released four publications featuring promising start-ups under various components of the Department of Science and Technology’s NIDHI programme including the flagship Technology Business Incubator (TBI) scheme and a coffee table book of 51 CAWACH-funded start-ups.
Further, the Minister noted that India ranks third among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world as it has a strong focus on science and technology. India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research, positioned as one of the top five nations in the field of space exploration, and also actively engaged in emerging technologies such as quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence.
The Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) program carved out in a record time by DST just when Covid hit, was the first program by any department of the Government of India to support startups working on Covid products and solutions. The overall impact and outcome of DST’s program on innovation and entrepreneurship have been significant: promoting 160 incubators, nurturing 12,000 startups including 1627 women-led startups, and generating 1,31, 648 jobs.
Besides, he informed that India has made a massive jump in its global ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII) from 81st in the year 2015 to 46th in 2021 among 130 economies of the world. India ranks 2nd among 34 lower and middle-income economies and 1st among 10 Central and Southern Asian economies in terms of GII. The consistent improvement in the GII ranking is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant start-up ecosystem, and some outstanding work done by the public and private research organisations, the Minister added.
Secretary, DST, Dr. S. Chandrasekhar said, India in recent 7-8 years made unprecedented progress in STI areas and there has been a significant rise in the country’s overall performance in terms of the number of publications (globally ranked 3rd now from 6th in 2013 based on National Science Foundation database), patents (globally ranked 9th in terms of resident patent filing) and quality of research publications (globally ranked 9th now from 13th in 2013). He pointed out that the NIDHI program of DST has swiftly processed the much-needed support to start-ups, catalysing the active support of business incubators and other business support providers.
75 impactful incubated startups supported under NIDHI from across the country from various sectors were showcased in 50 physical as well as 25 digital modes in the DST Startup Expo. Five startups from NM-ICPS Technology Innovation Hubs were also part of the 50 stalls of Startups.