Startups will play a major role in making India the second or third-biggest economy in the world in the next 25 years, says Anurag Jain, secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Terming startups as one of the four major pillars that helped India remain resilient during the pandemic period, Jain said the startup firms have a presence across sectors and across geographies in India today.

Speaking at a function organised by the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI) in Delhi on June 9, Jain said that India already has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. “There are more than 50 sectors where we have got startups registered. And more than 600 districts have got startups. There is gender balance too. Almost 49% of the startups have a woman director. More than 50% of startups are from tier 2 and tier 3 towns”, he pointed out.

According to Jain, startup is the real growth story of India and the most important thing going forward as the next 25 years are going to be the time of innovation and knowledge economy. “Prime Minister has already given us a major task of looking into the future, thinking about India in 2047. Next 25 years is 'Amrit kaal', the transition period (to reach 100 years of independence in 2047). Economists have projected that India will be the second or third-largest economy in the world by that time. So we are bound to grow for the next 25 years at the rate of 8% to 9 %. That is the expectation. The problem is if you don’t get the coordination act together, even if you miss one or two percentage points, it will make a huge difference. Therefore, it is the right time for us to plan for the next 25 years. Keeping that vision in mind, we started building short and medium-term plans. Right now we have a 2047 vision and a 2030 medium term programme”, he said.

In addition to startups, what helped India remain a bright spot of hope in an otherwise pandemic hit world economy were the pragmatic decisions taken by the government, the entrepreneurial skills of Indian industry, and the resilience of the Indian population, Jain said.

“Last few years have been very challenging because of the pandemic and related issues we have gone through, but India remains a bright spot of hope. It did not happen by chance. There is a lot of design to it. First, the government was very pragmatic to take quick decisions to provide support where it was needed - the MSMEs, the poor, and the overall support to maintain macroeconomic stability. The second important role was played by the industries. They took up the challenge as an opportunity and transformed things overnight. When the pandemic started we did not have things like PPE kits, masks, sanitisers, etc in sufficient supply. But within a period of 7 days, we had our own kit manufacturing, and by the time it was 15 days, we were self-sufficient. And soon India was lending support to other countries. We had become exporters. The third reason was the performance of our startups. The fourth reason was the resilience of the Indian population at large”, he explained.

Jain also highlighted PM Gati Shakti national master plan to be the most transformational of the government's initiatives which along with a soon to be announced logistic policy will complement infrastructure development that would help Indian industry take up bigger challenges.

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