Telangana is India’s most successful startup: KTR

Telangana Information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao said his party’s government is keen to fulfil its role as an enabler of innovation.
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Telangana’s Information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao said India’s youngest state is also its most successful startup.

“We are the most successful startup of independent India for a state without a question,” the 45-year-old minister, who is popularly referred to by his initials KTR, told YourStory on the sidelines of an event to launch the world’s largest innovation campus.

While the jury is out on whether a state can be equated with a startup, what KTR actually wants to convey is the rapid strides Telangana has made since its formation in 2014.

 And he reeled off several points to back his claim.

“There are a number of reasons I say this—we are the 11th largest geographically, 12th largest population-wise, but the fourth-largest contributor to India’s economy. We are only 2.5 percent of India’s population but our contribution to GDP (gross domestic product) is 5 percent. Our per capita was Rs 1.24 lakh in 2014, now it is Rs 2.78 lakh. Our GSDP (gross state domestic product) was Rs 5 lakh crore in 2014, now it is Rs 11.55 lakh crore.”

He paused, before continuing. “Not only has Telangana grown in terms of wealth creation, but it has grown in every sector.”

 It's important for KTR and his party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), to emphasise on the pro-development image of the state government ahead of crucial state elections next year. If  KTR’s father K Chandrashekar Rao returns as the chief minister of the state for the third successive time, it will be a first for a Telugu politician.

 KTR said he believes that startups are key for triggering the next spurt of growth and employment generation in his state.

“The traditional IT business houses that have come to India in the previous millennium, and then continued to grow, have created value and jobs in the country. The next spurt of employment and value, for that matter, even wealth creation, will happen with startups and there is no second thought about it.”

 This is why his government has created the world’s largest innovation campus, T-Hub 2.0, in Hyderabad. Telangana set up T-Hub (short for Technology Hub) in 2015 as a startup incubator in a public-private partnership with institutions like IIIT-Hyderabad and Indian School of Business.

 T-Hub’s second phase, which was inaugurated in Hyderabad by the chief minister on Tuesday, will offer 5.82 lakh square feet of work space for startups, venture capital firms, and other partners in the ecosystem. It has been built at a cost of about Rs 400 crore.

“The reason why we are doing it, the way we are doing it is… across the world, a lot of universities have spawned companies and enterprises. A lot of R&D happens there and the government funds a lot of R&D. Since India is a developing country, governments do not have the latitude and luxury to spend that kind of money on R&D. So, to inculcate a sense of innovation as a culture we have built this campus,” KTR said.

He claimed that while other state governments in the country have been passive supporters of startups, the government in Telangana is keen to fulfil its role as enabler.

“This is a platform any youngster can walk in and come out with something truly world-class. They can dream big, think big. The kind of infra there is, the kind of opportunity, the kind of mentorship support, the kind of access to capital there is will differentiate this from anywhere else.”