India has witnessed $38 billion investments in tech companies during the past six months when the whole world was reeling under COVID-19 pandemic, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Tuesday.
Speaking in a session of the three-day TiE Global Summit (TGS) being held virtually, Kant said the Indian startup ecosystem witnessed launch of more than 55,000 startups, which had raised over $60 billion in funding in the last five years and currently home to about 34 unicorns and 52 soonicorns (soon to be unicorns) with a potential to become unicorns by 2022.
"While the world is reeling under the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, India has seen tech investments crossing over $38 billion in the last five or six months and this is absolutely massive and speaks volumes about potential of India, particularly when it comes to the technology," he said in an interactive session.
Replying to a query, he said artificial intelligence is going to become one of the biggest opportunities for India with respect to technology applications and the emerging technology is expected to add $957 billion to the Indian economy by 2035.
On data protection, the official said, in an evolving and fast changing digital landscape India, we not only need stronger data protection but also data empowerment. He said India currently has over 650 million internet users adding a connection every three seconds while it is the largest consumer of data in the world with over 500 million smartphone users. Kant opined that Indian family business houses in a big way need to come forward to invest in startups.
Addressing the same, Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, emphasised that fostering student-entrepreneurship through innovation programmes is extremely critical and universities need to establish close linkage with industries to mentor and handhold students with novel business ideas.
Speaking at the TiE Global Summit-2020 through video conferencing from Visakhapatnam, the Vice President asked the universities to set up incubation centres to tap and nurture entrepreneurial talent among youngsters. He also appealed to the corporate sector to come forward to fund and promote entrepreneurial ecosystem on university campuses.