Ecosystem in place for a software hub: Ravi Shankar Prasad

NEW DELHI: India can become a big hub for software products, especially since the entire ecosystem of payments, favourable policies and the technology is already in place, said Union minister for electronics, IT and communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The country can also develop as a centre for deep technology, Prasad said at an event co-hosted by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) to launch a host of new initiatives.

The initiatives include the MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), the second phase of the BHIM scheme, the Indian Software Product Registry and select Incubation Centres under the Technology Incubation Development for Entrepreneurs 2.0 (TIDE 2.0).

“There are 23,000 startups and 800 are technological startups, and of them, 21are Unicorns... But, when I see global number of Unicorns, that number is 400-plus and so there is a case for greater mentorship and encouragement," Prasad said.

The MSH will act as a platform to connect with incubators, accelerators, mentors, and eventually, angel funds and venture capitalists.

The Indian Software Product Registry will be a single-window portal for cataloguing all companies and products developed in India with key analytics, category-wise listing and options to port the database to the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) for enhanced market access.

TIDE 2.0 is aimed at strengthening close to 2,000 technology startups in areas of national concern, by leveraging emerging technologies and empowering 51 incubation centres across the country.

India should become a big centre for patent and Intellectual Property, Prasad said, adding that patent clearance timelines should be brought down to a maximum of one year. He was responding to industry's concerns of patent clearances taking more than four years at times.

Prasad also asked technology firms to support the government in its Digital Villages programme. “I appeal to the tech giants... We are going to set up one lakh digital villages in coming few years. Should I expect some of you to patronise and mentor those digital villages in your own way? They should become centres of empowerment and entrepreneurship," he said.