Author – Tanmaya Dash
The Indian government has kicked off the “Make in India” week to showcase the manufacturing prowess of the third largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP). Evidently, we expect to see a steady increment in foreign investments as about 60 countries are participating in the events. This week is being celebrated as part of Modi government’s Startup India Action Plan for emphasis the importance of start-ups’ contribution towards the growth of our country.
However, India is currently ranked at the 130th position among 189 countries in the World Bank’s survey on ease of doing business. DIPP secretary, Amitabh Kant stated the government is targeting to be among the top 50 within the coming three years. This is one of the foremost needs for becoming the world largest startup ecosystem (currently the third largest). The government has made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital requirement and the need to obtain a certificate to commence business operations. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement as businesses struggle with numerous construction permits, tax payments and contract enforcement issues.
A country of 1.25 billion people should have no shortage of ideas to start independent ventures, but there are certain key aspects that need to be addressed for promoting entrepreneurship among students. The most prominent among them is our educational system. The gap in our education system has come under a lot of scrutiny in social media as well as among graduates from tier-one universities.
Educational institutions are currently focused on creating more job seekers rather than job creators. Entrepreneurship is not at all a primary focus for engineers and management graduates who pass out of colleges; rather it is about getting a secure job in either a multinational company or in the public sector.
The government can take a few steps in imbibing a culture of start-ups among Indian youth by promoting innovations and sustainable technologies that are being developed in colleges across the country. The initiative to showcase the most successful ventures from an institute inside the academic space will surely be a great boost for students to start working on their own ideas.
In fact, we observe there are more innovation and entrepreneurship drives by corporate houses today rather than the government. Some of the prominent innovation hunts are:
- The Infosys Prize endeavors to elevate the prestige of science and research in India
- Mahindra Group fosters innovation in fields such as solar power and driverless car with its ‘Spark the Rise’ initiative
- ‘Innovators Race by Capgemini’ where technology and business meet sustainability
- AICTE, DST and CII jointly organize India Innovation Initiative 2015
- TiE – The Indus Entrepreneurs’ global program to nurture startups – TiE Young Entrepreneurs
Clean technology and renewable energy are two emerging sectors that can clearly help not only nurture entrepreneurship but also build an innovation platform for sustainable development. The rapid rise in e-commerce and mobile communications across India needs to be adequately supported by a massive increase in decentralized power generation in rural areas.
For example, if telecom towers located in remote areas are run by diesel gensets that need imported fuel, then that is not sustainable development. In contrast, micro grids of solar power that supply electricity to both rural households and telecom towers offers a win-win situation.Similarly electric rickshaws can not only reduce pollution in urban areas but also offer good employment to jobless youth.
Indian Railways adopting DRDO’s Bio-toilets innovation is yet another great example of providing clean toilets without polluting the environment. IIT Kharagpur faculty have innovated a microbial fuel cell technology for sewage treatment systems that can treat waste water as well as generate electricity. There are many such innovative green ideas that the government can promote under its Make in India initiative for nurturing entrepreneurship as well as ensuring sustainable development.