भारत भक्ति में जिन्होंने अपना जीवन समर्पित किआ, ऐसे माँ भारती के लाडले, अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी जी को आज भारत रत्न से सम्मानित करने का सौभाग्य हमें मिला है। मैं राष्ट्रपतिजी का बहुत आभार व्यक्त करता हूँ कि वे स्वयं यहाँ आए, और अटलजी को रू-ब-रू में उन्होंने भारत रत्न से सम्मानित किया। अटलजी का जीवन राष्ट्र को समर्पित रहा। वे पल-पल राष्ट्र के लिए जीए, राष्ट्र के लिए सोचते रहे। और हिंदुस्तान में मेरे जैसे करोड़ों ऐसे कार्यकर्ता हैं, जिनके जीवन में वाजपेयी जी एक प्रेरणा हैं। आने वाली पीढीयों को भी उनकी प्रेरणा मिलती रहेगी। मैं इस भारत रत्न सम्मान पाने वाले वाजपेयी जी के जीवन हमें सदा-सर्वदा प्रेरणा देता रहे, मार्गदर्शन देता रहे – यही प्रभु से प्रार्थना करता रहूँगा।
My colleagues in the Union Cabinet Piyush Goyal ji, Mansukh Mandaviya ji, Ashwini Vaishnaw ji, Sarbananda Sonowal ji, Parshottam Rupala ji, G. Kishan Reddy ji, Pashupati Kumar Paras ji, Jitendra Singh ji, Som Prakash ji, stalwarts from the world of start-ups from across the country, our young friends, other dignitaries and brothers and sisters,
All of us witnessed the success of Indian start-ups and also saw presentations from some of the stakeholders. All of you are doing a great job. This year of 2022 has ushered in even more possibilities for the Indian start-up ecosystem. The ‘Start-up India Innovation Week’ event assumes greater significance in the 75th year of independence. Your role in building a grand India on the completion of 100 years of its independence is immense.
I congratulate all the start-ups and the innovative youth who are raising the flag of India in the world of start-ups. It has been decided to celebrate January 16 as National Start-up Day so that this culture of start-ups gets as far as the far-flung parts of the country.
The Start-up India Innovation Week is meant to celebrate the successes of the last year and also to discuss the future strategy. This decade is being called the ‘Techade of India’. There are three important aspects to the massive changes that the government is making in this decade to strengthen the innovation, entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem.
First, to liberate entrepreneurship and innovation from the web of government processes and bureaucratic silos; second, to create an institutional mechanism to promote innovation; and third to handhold young innovators and youth enterprises! Programs like Start-up India, Stand-Up India are part of such efforts.
Steps like eliminating the hassles of angel tax and simplifying tax filing, facilitating access to credit and ensuring thousands of crores of rupees of government funding reflect our commitment. Under Start-up India, start-ups have been given the facility to self-certify compliances related to nine labour and three environment laws.
The process of simplification of government procedures which started with the self-attestation of documents has reached the stage of eliminating over 25,000 compliances today. Startup Runway on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) platform is also very useful to enable start-ups to provide their products or services to the government easily.
Trust in the ability and creativity of one’s youth is an important basis for the progress of any country. Recognizing this potential of its youth, India is making policies and implementing decisions today. There are more than 1,000 universities, 11,000 stand-alone institutions, 42,000 colleges and lakhs of schools in India. This is the great strength of India.
Our endeavour is to institutionalize innovation in the country by creating an attraction for innovation among students since childhood. More than 9,000 Atal Tinkering Labs are giving children a chance to innovate and work on new ideas in schools. The Atal Innovation Mission is ensuring new platforms for our youth to work on their innovative ideas. In addition, the network of thousands of labs in schools and colleges across the country promotes innovation in every field. We are emphasizing innovation and technology-based solutions to deal with the challenges of the country. We have engaged the youth by organizing many Hackathons and they have given us many innovative solutions in record time.
You must also have experienced how different departments and ministries of the government are in touch with the youth and start-ups and encouraging their new ideas. Whether it is new drone rules, or the new space policy, the priority of the government is to provide opportunities for innovation to as many youths as possible.
Our government has also simplified the rules related to IPR registration. The central and state governments together are supporting hundreds of incubators in the country today. Today, institutions like iCreate are playing a very important role in enhancing the innovation ecosystem in the country. iCreate, i.e., International Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, is giving a strong start to many start-ups and encouraging innovations.
We can see the results of these efforts of the government. Whereas 4,000 patents were approved in 2013-14, more than 28,000 patents were granted last year. In 2013-14, about 70,000 trademarks were registered, whereas more than 2.5 lakh trademarks have been registered in 2021. In 2013-14, only 4,000 copyrights were granted, whereas this number crossed 16,000 last year. India's ranking in the Global Innovation Index has also improved a lot due to the campaign that is underway in India regarding innovation. In 2015, India was confined to 81 in this ranking. Now India is ranked 46 in the Innovation Index; it has come down from 50.
India's start-up ecosystem is creating waves in the world today. It is the strength of India's start-up ecosystem that it is full of passion, sincerity and integrity. It is the strength of India's start-up ecosystem that it is constantly discovering itself, improving itself and growing in strength. It is constantly in a learning mode, in a changing mode and adapting itself to new situations. Today who would not be proud to see that India's start-ups are working in 55 different industries? Everyone will be proud of it. Where there were not even 500 startups in the country five years ago, today this number has increased to 60,000. You have the power of innovation, you have new ideas, you are full of youthful energy and you are changing the way of doing business. Our start-ups are changing the rules of the game. That's why I believe start-ups are going to be the backbone of new India.
This spirit from entrepreneurship to empowerment is also resolving the issues of regional and gender disparity in our development. Earlier, big businesses flourished only in big cities and metros; today there is at least one start-up in every state of the country spread over more than 625 districts. Today almost half the start-ups are operating from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. These are converting the ideas of youth from ordinary and poor families into businesses. Today lakhs of youth are getting employment in these start-ups.
The speed and scale at which India's youth are creating start-ups is a testament to the strong will and determination of Indians in this era of a global pandemic. Earlier, only a few companies could become big even in the best of times. But, 42 unicorns emerged in our country last year only. These companies worth thousands of crores of rupees are the hallmark of self-reliant, self-confident India. Today India is rapidly moving towards creating the century of the unicorn. And I believe the golden age of India's start-ups is starting now. The diversity of India is our greatest strength. Our diversity is our global identity.
Our unicorns and start-ups are messengers of this diversity. From simple delivery services to payment solutions and cab services, your scope is huge. You have so much experience working in diverse markets and diverse cultures in India itself. Therefore, start-ups from India can easily reach out to other countries of the world. So don't just keep your dreams local, make them global. Remember this mantra -- let us innovate for India, innovate from India!
It is time for all to mobilize in the virtuous period of freedom. This is the time to move towards goals with ‘Sabka Prayas (collective efforts). I was happy when a group made important suggestions regarding the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan. The extra space available in GatiShakti projects can be used for building EV charging infrastructure. Under this master plan, the entire infrastructure grid, including transport, power, telecom, etc is being brought on a single platform. Your participation in this campaign of creation of multimodal and multipurpose assets is very important.
This will also give impetus to the creation of new champions in our manufacturing sector. The country's ambitious plans are in front of you in many sectors related to defence manufacturing, chip manufacturing, clean energy and drone technology.
Many investors of the country and abroad are investing in drone start-ups following the implementation of the new drone policy recently. Drone companies have received orders worth about Rs 500 crore from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The government is using drones on a large scale for mapping village properties for the Swamitva scheme. Now the scope of drones is increasing in home delivery of medicines and in agriculture. So it has a lot of potentials.
Our rapid urbanization is also a big focus area. Today, work is happening on a large scale in developing our existing cities and building new cities. There is a lot to be done in urban planning. We have to create such ‘walk-to-work’ concepts and integrated industrial estates, where there are better arrangements for the workers. New possibilities are waiting for you in urban planning. For example, a group just mentioned the national cycling plan and car-free zones for big cities. This is very important to promote sustainable lifestyles in cities. You must be aware when I went to the COP-26 summit, I talked about the Mission LIFE and my concept of LIFE is Lifestyle for Environments (LIFE). I believe that we need to make people aware of the use of those things by using technology. For example, the P-3 movement is imperative today. P-3 movement, i.e., Pro-Planet-People! Unless we make people aware of the environment and make them soldiers in the fight against global warming, we cannot win this battle. Therefore, India is involving many countries in this Mission LIFE.
Smart mobility will also make the life of cities easier and will also help in achieving our targets of carbon emission.
India continues to strengthen its identity as the world's largest millennial market. Millennials are the cornerstone of the prosperity of their families as well as the self-reliance of the nation. Our needs and our potential are limitless from a rural economy to Industry 4.0. Investment in research and development related to future technology is the priority of the government today. But it would be better if the industry also expands its contribution in this.
One more thing you have to keep in mind in this decade of the 21st century. A huge market is opening up in the country as well. We have stepped into the digital lifestyle just now. Only about half of our population is online. With the speed, scale and price at which the government is working to provide digital access to the poor and villages, India will have about 100 crore internet users in a very short time.
As last-mile delivery gets empowered in remote areas, it is also creating a rural market and a large pool of rural talent. That's why I request the start-ups of India to move towards villages. This is an opportunity as well as a challenge. Be it mobile internet, broadband connectivity or physical connectivity, the aspirations of villages are rising today. Rural and semi-urban areas are looking forward to a new wave of expansion.
The way the start-up culture has democratized the Idea, it has empowered women and local businesses. From pickles and papadum to handicrafts, the scope of many local products has expanded widely today. Due to increasing awareness, people are becoming vocal for the locals. And just now our friend Kartik from Jaipur talked about making local the global and mentioned virtual tourism. On the occasion of 75 years of independence, I would urge you to hold a competition among children of schools and colleges regarding the virtual creative work of the monuments and events related to independence from the pages of history in their districts and cities. And start-ups like you can compile it and the country should be invited for a virtual tour for 75 years of independence. It will be a big contribution from the start-ups during the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence. If you make a beginning regarding an idea which you like and how to bring forth that idea in which format, I think we can take it forward.
During the Covid lockdown, we have seen how small innovative models at the local level made people's lives easier. Start-ups have a huge opportunity for collaboration with small local businesses. Start-ups can empower and make these local businesses efficient. Small businesses are the backbone of the country's development and start-ups are the new game-changer. This partnership can transform both our society and economy and women’s employment especially can get a lot of strength from this.
Many suggestions have come here regarding the partnership between government and start-ups in many sectors, including agriculture, health, education, tourism, etc. Like there was a suggestion that our local shopkeepers are hardly able to use 50-60% of their capacity and a digital solution was offered to them so that they could know which items had emptied and which ones needed to be bought. I will suggest that you connect the shopkeepers with their customers. The shopkeepers can inform their customers that they would be running out of stock of some products in three or seven days. If a message is sent to them, then families will not have to search the boxes in the kitchen to see which products they would be running short of after some days. A message can be sent by a shopkeeper to his customer that he is going to run out of stock of turmeric in three days. You can even convert it into a very large platform and can become a very big aggregator and can become a bridge between shopkeepers and customers.
I assure you that every suggestion, every idea, every innovation of the youth will get the full support from the government. The next 25 years, which will take the country towards the 100th year of independence, are very important friends and most important for you. This is a new era of innovation i.e. ideas, industry and investment. Your exercise is for India. Your enterprise is for India. Your wealth creation is for India and job creation is for India.
I am fully committed to converting the energy of the youth into the energy of the country. It has become very important to understand your suggestions and ideas because there is a new generation that thinks in a new way. I am sure that all the government departments will benefit from the ideas that have emerged from the seven-day brainstorming and will try to implement in government policies and see how it impacts the life of society. I thank you all for taking your valuable time out to take part in this event because you belong to the world of ideas and sharing those ideas with everybody is very important.
I wish you all the very best. There is already the atmosphere of the holy festival of Makar Sankranti. But do take care of yourself from Corona.
Thanks a lot.