‘Right ecosystem needed for start-ups’

Kaushik Vaidya | Updated on January 19, 2018


I don’t think incentives are necessary; what is required is quality infrastructure: DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant

The Make in India Week kicks off in Mumbai this weekend. Bloomberg TV India spoke with the man of the moment, DIPP (Department Of Industrial Policy and Promotion) Secretary Amitabh Kant, on just what to expect from the mega event.

Mr Kant, back in 2014, the PM held a day-long session with Indian industry to bring them on board with Make in India. Now you are doing a week-long seminar with a lot of global participation as well. What do you hope to achieve?

I think the key point is that a lot has been done in the last 18-19 months. The Indian economy has been opened up. Vast sectors of our FDI regime have been opened up. We have made India an easier place to do business in. We’ve pushed through a lot, but it was very important what has been done, and therefore this is one of the largest multi-sectoral exhibitions that there have been. Indian manufacturing will be on full display, in all its power here, and you can see for yourself what has been achieved.

While you have every single sector and every major state showcasing its strengths for investments - where can we expect the most interest?

We have over 1,000 international companies and 8,000 Indian companies participating. We also 17 states that are engaging with investors here. We have close to 52 seminars and 3,000 business-to-business and business-to-government meetings. There is a lot of action going on here. More than just in terms of exhibitions, there is a lot of other activity - the Asia Business Forum, the Time Magazine Awards, there’s a Hack-athon of all the IIT students who are giving solutions on water, energy, transportation. There’s a start-up event where Qualcomm will put in equity of ₹2 cr right on the spot. Our focus is largely on innovation and design. Over a long period of time, India must develop a culture for manufacturing. People must see what India has done, and what India has achieved in the area of manufacturing. A lot has been done and achieved, but it is never talked about. So you can come and see for yourself that India is a huge manufacturing nation.

At the recent Start-up India speech that the Prime Minister gave, he announced specific incentives for that space. Can the manufacturing sector expect similar incentives and moves from the PM’s address and from the rest of the government?

No, I don’t think incentives are necessary. What is required is the right ecosystem. What is required is quality infrastructure. The government is focussed on creating the best possible infrastructure on the ground.

You are also doing a lot of inputs on the design and technology side. Are there also modules where you help companies figure out possible funding avenues as they look to scale up their manufacturing prowess and the job growth that goes with it?

All these are issues for discussion. We have a vast number of workshops, seminars, interaction which will go on here. The schedule is really packed. We have some of the best and brightest people of India here.

You move full time to the NITI Aayog at the end of the month. The government announced that Ramesh Abhishek will be your successor at the DIPP. For the make in India mission to continue seamlessly, what top priorities would you leave him with, in your hand-over?

I think plenty is to be done on the ease of doing business. We have to sustain this whole effort. We have to keep making India an easy and simple place to do business. We have to keep pushing the manufacturing sector with greater vigour and energy. We have to push innovation and design. We also have to keep opening up India's economy more and more. And very importantly, we have to focus on the new infrastructure industrial corridors.

Published on February 12, 2016

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