With ‘Innovate Karnataka’, an initiative to bring innovation centres on blockchain, robotics and start-ups, under a single umbrella, the Karnataka government has set the tone for the State government to attract more investments.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: “Development cannot happen without innovation, and no innovation is truly big unless it helps people. With ‘Innovate Karnataka’, we hope to start on the path to Mission 2025: where technology will help in the inclusive development of the State, and better governance can be delivered to the citizens."

The vision what the government has in mind seems to be to spur digitisation of healthcare, agriculture and other domains. Priyank Kharge, IT/BT minister, also announced incentives to help skill students in colleges outside of Bengaluru. “We will spend ₹40 lakh per college for skilling programmes,” he said, adding that these changes are necessary in the backdrop of changing job situation, which is opening up new kinds of job roles.

Also, for entrepreneurs, the Elevate 100 programme will be extended to 500 entrepreneurs as the government wants to give a further impetus to the start-up ecosystem. A sum of ₹5 crore was allocated for development of start-ups in Kalaburagi along with the Deshpande Foundation, which Kharge reiterated.

Electronics cluster

Further, an Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) cluster for Mysuru and a Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) incubator in Hubli was announced and ₹4 crore will be spent on each facility. The State also has Centres of Excellence across Karnataka, including the Centre of Excellence for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, in association with Nasscom; Centre of Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics, in association with ABAI; Centre of Excellence for Machine Learning & Robotics at IIITB and Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security.

The government also rechristened IT/BT Department as Department of Innovation and Technology in line with its overall objective of positioning the state as an innovation destination. The Department of Information Technology was carved out of from the Department of Commerce and Industry in 1998.

The event also saw the launch of two portals for the youth, Yuva Yuga portal, which will act as a one-stop-shop for all the information related to the State’s skill development programme, and the e-Margadarshi, which will help youth find employment.