Kochi: Recommending the replication of the Kerala model Startup Village in other Indian states to boost entrepreneurship, Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said the central government would set up an electronic development fund for startups across the country.
“In order to promote entrepreneurship in IT, the central government has come up with the concept of electronic development fund with the government partnering with angel funds to fund startups in IT, electronics and manufacturing,” the Minister said during his visit to the Startup Village in Kalamassery.
“I am very happy that Kerala has done a good work. We need to replicate it,” he added.
Hailing Narendra Modi government’s Digital India campaign as a revolutionary plan to bridge the gap between the digital haves and have-nots, Prasad said the profile of India will change in the next four or five years.
“We propose to connect 2,50,000 gram panchayats across the country with a national optical fibre network in the next three years. Kerala is doing very well in this. By the end of this financial year, all gram panchayats in the state will have the national optical fibre network. E-education, e-commerce and e-health will ride on that,” the minister noted.
“The centre and the state governments should work together to make ‘Digital India’ a big success,” he added.
Prasad pointed out that 65 per cent of India’s population is under 35 years of age and 50 per cent is under 25.
“I feel very happy coming to Startup Village and looking at young India explore new frontiers in IT. India has got 90 crore mobile phones and 300 crore internet connections. We have to make them more effective and more accessible and promote entrepreneurship in this field.”
He said India can have dozens of Silicon Valleys as many Indians are doing well in IT professions abroad and many of them are coming back.
“The central government is promoting electronic manufacturing in a big way by giving many incentives to electronic clusters across the country, the Minister said, adding that “until now, we have received investment proposals worth Rs 18,000 crore from foreign players and others in the field of electronic manufacturing. Out of this, around Rs 4,000 crore worth of projects have been approved.”
“As for the incentives, if a state government or any other body provides 100 acres of land for setting up manufacturing units, the centre will provide a funding support of Rs 50 crore straight away. Also, for every Rs 100 invested by someone in a factory, the government of India will invest Rs 25. This is apart from the incentives given by the state,” he added.
Principal Secretary IT and Industries Shri P. H. Kurian and Startup Village CEO Shri Pranav Kumar Suresh, who were present on the occasion, briefed the minister about the activities of the Startup Village and the growing startup ecosystem in Kerala.
Startup Village Chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar said the visit of Union Ministers to the Startup Village was a major recognition and stressed that all of them highlighted the need to replicate the Startup Village model in all other states in the country.
“The Startup Village has become a platform for talented youth to show their skills to the world. We are happy that the model has been adopted by Andhra Pradesh while Madhya Pradesh and a couple of other states are actively looking to replicate it,” said Suresh.