Interview

STPI endeavors creating environment apposite for start-ups: Dr Omkar Rai

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Dr Omkar Rai

STPI has already embarked on building several Centres of Excellence (CoEs) to foster domain specific specialised incubation facility in the area of emerging technologies by providing the highest standards and best practices in terms of infrastructure, technology, leadership, mentoring, training, research & development, funding and networking for the given focus area, says Dr Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) in an interview with Nisha Samant and Sreetama Datta Roy of Elets News Network (ENN).

What contribution has STPI made to Indian IT Industry?

STPI has been acting as a potential facilitator to develop a promising ecosystem for the IT/ITeS industry in India. The persistent efforts of STPI in necessitating business-friendly environment have immensely attracted global MNCs to establish their offshore development centres and R&D campus in metros. Consequently, FDI in IT industry poured in to further bolster the operations of Indian IT companies and exports in this sector.

Over the last 30 years, STPI has created many milestones while promoting the Indian IT industry in the global market. STPI has been on the forefront of bringing comprehensive reforms for the Indian IT industry since its inception, which is being reflected on the glorious performance of this industry at world stage. To boost software exports, for the first time in India, STPI has started providing high speed data communication services to STPI member units in 1992 via satellite communication. The industry has been greatly benefitted by STP scheme over the years through its 59 centres pan India. Today, the exports made by STPI-registered IT/ITeS units have increased from 3,75,988 crore in FY 2018-19 to Rs. 4,21,103 with a growth rate of 12 percent.

Also Read: STPI on a Mission to Promote IT/ITeS/ESDM Sector in Goa

STPI constantly endeavors to create an environment apposite for the start-ups. The said statement is manifested by the several projects and initiatives which STPI is either spearheading or has partnered. It has been successfully managing its various incubation programmes pan India. Be it the Orchid Techscape at Bengaluru, IMAGE (Innovation in Multimedia, Animation, Gaming and Entertainment) at Hyderabad, Semiconductor Characterisation Lab at Bengaluru, Fab Lab at Bhubaneswar or STPI CoEs in emerging technologies pan India, STPI has been carving a niche for itself in the space of supporting the startup ecosystem. These facilities are intended to provide the required thrust to boost the start- ups and ensuring the fruition of their ideas to working prototypes and culminating in products beneficial for the Industry and society at large. STPI has been constantly looking beyond the promotion of traditional IT outsourcing by diversifying into areas like entrepreneurial development, supporting incubation programmes, product companies and dispersal of the IT industry beyond the metros.

What are the achievements of BPO schemes?

The IT-BPM Industry has transformed the Indian economy by building an ecosystem of entrepreneurship, innovation, employment generation and boosting IT/ITeS exports. It’s pertinent to cite the success of India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) and North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS) under Digital India program in dispersing entrepreneurship to Tier- II/III cities and generating jobs for the local youth.

The scheme provides financial support in the form of Viability Gap Funding to eligible companies, with the following objectives:

  1. Creation of employment opportunities for the youth, by promoting the IT/ITeS Industry particularly by setting up the BPO/ITES operations in smaller cities.
  2. Promotion of investment in IT/ITeS Sector in order to expand the base of ITeS Industry and secure balanced regional growth. This scheme ensures substantial investment and has a multiplier effect on the economy in times to come.

With a total budgetary outlay of Rs 543 crore, the schemes have potential to create employment opportunities of nearly 1.65 lakh direct and a good number of indirect jobs in the sector. Salient features of the schemes include:

  • Financial support of up to 50 percent of expenditure [Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and/or Operational Expenditure (OPEX)] incurred on permissible items, with upper ceiling of Rs 1 lakh per BPO/ITeS seat.
  • Special incentives (Additional within upper cap of Rs 1 Lakh/Seat)
  • Five percent incentive for employing 50 percent women
  • Up to 7.5 percent incentive for employing 50 percent women (Only for NEBPS)
  • Two percent incentive for employing four percent differently abled persons
  • Up to 10 percent incentive for generating employment beyond target
  • Five percent incentive for local entrepreneurs
  • Five percent incentive for setting up BPO at location other than state capital (only for IBPS)
  • Training incentive for regular employees

Till December 2019, for IBPS and NEBPS, 53,300 seats have been allocated to set up 305 BPO/ITeS units in 123 cities of 28 States/UTs. Out of which, 259 units have started operations with an employment of 34,939.

How is STPI supporting the product startup ecosystem?

While NPSP 2019 envisions India’s contribution to global software product market by ten-fold by 2025 from the current market share, the Policy emphasises on the cluster-based innovation driven ecosystem by integrating ICT infrastructure, incubation facility, R&D & testing facility, mentoring & marketing support. STPI is playing a cardinal role in realisation of the objectives of the NPSP. STPI has already embarked on building around 28 Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in collaborative manner to foster domain-specific specialised incubation facility for startups in the area of emerging technologies by providing the highest standards and best practices in terms of infrastructure, technology, leadership, mentoring, training, research & development, funding, networking for the given focus area.

How Electropreneur Park is fuelling the growth in ESDM sector?

From the vantage point of demand for domestic consumption of electronics product, India is far behind the manufacturing of electronics products. Observing this dynamics in ESDM sector, STPI in collaboration with industry and academia established Electropreneur Park (EP), the first of its kind ESDM Centre of Excellence, in New Delhi in 2016 to promote indigenous manufacturing in the entire value chain of ESDM. EP was created to promote a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem of R&D, design and innovation ecosystem to build breakthrough products and create IP in ESDM sector. What STPI envisioned in 2016 for EP is now taking shape and driving India’s success in ESDM space. Till December 2019, EP has had 33 startups as its beneficiaries. There has been a significant achievement by the startups during this period where they were able to take their product to the next step by filing national patents. Overall, 19 working prototypes and 20 new products have been created by EP’s startups. Also, 19 IPRs (11 IPs and eight provisional patents) have been filed by the startups with total eight IPs successfully granted. Additionally, six startups have received external funding support to the tune of Rs 8 crore and the total revenue generated by the startups is Rs 25 crore.

What are the future plans of STPI?

To further strengthen the startup ecosystem, STPI has already embarked on building several Centres of Excellence (CoEs) to foster domain specific specialised incubation facility in the area of emerging technologies by providing the highest standards and best practices in terms of infrastructure, technology, leadership, mentoring, training, research & development, funding and networking for the given focus area. STPI CoEs are led by mentors, who are industry stalwarts and have veritable records in transforming Indian IT industry. Combined with the experience and expertise of these mentors, STPI collaborates with various state governments & government agencies, corporates, industry associations, leading academia and venture capitalists to transform innovative ideas into breakthrough products. Initiatives like Electropreneur Park; IoT Open Lab; FinTech CoE; Virtual/Augmented CoE; Automotive, Connected, Electric & Shared Mobility (ACES) CoE; Data Analytics, AI, IoT & AVG CoE; and the upcoming CoEs in other emerging technologies will rev up the future innovations in India. With the desired ecosystem combined with support from the government and participation of academia & industry, Indian IT industry will foster innovation and entrepreneurship and significantly contribute in achieving the USD 5 trillion economy by 2025.

Also Read: STPI on a Mission to Promote IT/ITeS/ESDM Sector in Goa


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