India ranks third globally in startup ecosystem and in terms of the number of unicorns.
India ranks third globally in startup ecosystem and in terms of the number of unicorns. As per the latest data, there are currently 105 unicorns, out of which 44 were born in 2021 and 19 in 2022. This, according to Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, while delivering the keynote address at DST StartUp Utsav at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre.
The Minister said the decade 2021-2030 is expected to bring transformational changes for Indian science, technology and innovation (STI). Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has increased the Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) more than three times in the last few years.
Dr. Singh said as per the latest data, India has over 5 lakh R&D personnel, up by 40-50% in the last eight years. On top of that, women’s participation in extramural R&D has also doubled, and India now occupies third place in terms of number of PhDs awarded in science and engineering (S&E) after the United States and China. With the shifting global powers and technology becoming the epicentre of international engagements and rulemaking, India under Modi is living up to global benchmarks.
Referring to Modi’s launch of StartUp India from the ramparts of Red Fort in 2015, Dr. Singh said India, in its 75th year of independence, is now home to as many as 75,000 startups. Modi’s special focus on science, technology and innovation has fired the imagination of the youth in the country to innovate and solve problems with new ideas. Dr. Singh also pointed out that India’s startups today are not limited to only metros or big cities, adding that 49 percent of the startups are from tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
“We have startups emerging in the fields like IT, agriculture, aviation, education, energy, health, and space sectors,” he said.
Dr. Singh also released four publications featuring promising startups under various components of NIDHI, including flagship program of Technology Business Incubator (TBI) and a coffee table book of 51 CAWACH funded startups.
He said India ranks third among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world for its strong focus on science and technology. India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research, positioned as one of the top five nations in the field for space exploration and also actively engaged in emerging technologies such as quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence, he added.
Dr. Singh said the Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) program carved out in a record time by DST just when COVID-19 hit was the first program by any department of the Indian Government to support startups working on COVID-19 products and solutions. He said, overall, the impact and outcome of DST’s program on innovation and entrepreneurship has been significant: promoting 160 incubators, nurturing 12,000 startups including 1627 women-led startups, and generating 131, 648 jobs.
India has created a massive jump in its global ranking of Global Innovation Index (GII), from 81st in 2015 to 46th in 2021 among 130 economies of the world, according to Dr. Singh. India ranks 2nd among 34 lower middle-income economies and 1st among 10 Central and Southern Asian economies in terms of GII. The consistent improvement in the GII ranking is attributed to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant startup ecosystem, and some outstanding work done by the public and private research organizations, the Minister added.
DST Secretary Dr. S. Chandrasekhar said India, in the past seven to eight years, made some unprecedented progress in STI areas, driving up its overall performance in terms of the number of publications (globally ranked 3rd now from 6th in 2013 based on National Science Foundation database), patents (globally ranked 9th in terms of resident patent filing) and quality of research publications (globally ranked 9th now from 13th in 2013). He said the NIDHI program of DST has swiftly processed the much-needed support to startups, catalyzing the active support of business incubators and other business support providers.
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