[TechSparks 2020] India’s startup and digital story should travel to small towns and cities too - Ravi Shankar Prasad

Speaking at TechSparks 2020, the IT Minister outlined ways the government has been promoting startups that leverage the use of tech in their business operations, and said that AI, Big Data and robotics should also be put to use across various industries in the country.

India’s startup and digital story should percolate down to the grassroots and rural areas, and new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and robotics can help do that, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at YourStory’s TechSparks 2020 event on Tuesday.

He pointed to the various schemes and initiatives the government of India has been undertaking to encourage digital innovation and digitisation-enablers, of which the latest ‘Chunauti Scheme’ was one. The government had launched the Rs 95 crore plan late August this year to recognise and support startups that have been integrating tech in fields such as education, agriculture, healthcare, and skilling, among others.

“India’s startup industry is the third-largest in the world, and it has seen tremendous growth in the last five years. Government policies will always be favourable for all growth initiatives,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said at TechSparks 2020, citing the example of the recently concluded Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge which intended to recognise the best India-made apps, across various sectors.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaking at TechSparks 2020

The ‘Chunauti Scheme’ has received over 1,800 applications so far, and a robust jury has been appointed to pick around 300 projects that will receive up to Rs 25 lakh in seed funding, and be eligible for further support in the form of incubation facilities, mentorship, access to industry connections, legal and HR services, patent applications, among others, according to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s department.

Prasad also said at the conference that he was keeping a close eye on the country’s gig economy, where successful cases of work-from-home have emerged over the last couple of months. He said the Indian government had changed a lot of its labour laws to stimulate and help this section of the workforce, and that the Ministry was actively encouraging the establishment of data centres across the country.

Watch IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's full keynote address at TechSparks 2020.

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TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Aparajita Saxena


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