The next wave of innovation will be from states like Gujarat and from smaller cities and towns of the country: Rajeev Chandarsekhar

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Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, took part in a discussion at the TiEcon Vadodara event, where local investors pledged Rs 100 crore to support early-stage startups in Gujarat. This initiative follows Minister Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s successful efforts last year in mobilizing support from established entrepreneurs and High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs), resulting in a Rs 1,500 crore pledge for startups in Gujarat.

During the event, he commended the Gujarat Government for fostering an environment conducive to startups and seizing opportunities in alignment with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision.

“The entrepreneurial spirit in Gujarat is unparalleled. I have extensively travelled across the country and can confidently testify that Gujarat excels in risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and economic development. I hold great respect for the Gujarat Government and its collaboration with the Government of India. Gujarat identified the semiconductor opportunity before any other state and seized it. The youth of Gujarat and the innovation ecosystem within the state are poised for substantial growth. Gujarat has now established itself on the map for deep tech capabilities. The next wave of innovation will be from states like Gujarat and from smaller cities and towns of the country,” the Minister said.

Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar emphasized that the government’s encouragement has led to increased activity in the startup ecosystem. He said that, “We are living in extremely exciting times. What Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has made possible is instilling confidence in Indians and young Indians. Today, PM Modi has encouraged Indians to enter all sectors. He often questions why we are not pursuing certain fields, such as why our young Indians aren’t building space rockets, something that no other politician in the past had done. When you exhibit confidence in young Indians and our country, we are capable of achieving almost anything that the rest of the world can. This holds true for manufacturing, and it holds true for semiconductors.”

Reflecting on the past, Minister Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar observed that previous non-BJP governments and political leadership often failed to realize India’s true potential. However, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s leadership has enabled a ‘can do’ and ‘you can do it’ attitude among young Indians.

“Earlier, governments and political leadership failed to grasp our country’s potential. It was Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who injected confidence into young Indians, enabling a ‘can do’ and ‘you can do it’ attitude, dispelling negativity and affirming that young Indians can achieve the impossible. This spirit has energised the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Today, we can proudly say that there is no place in the digital economy where there is no Indian activity, from semiconductors, web 3, microelectronics, crypto, high-performance computing, and AI, to quantum. For the first time in the history of independent India, we have a government deeply committed to empowering the success of young Indians and first-generation startup entrepreneurs. Previous governments tended to focus more on conglomerates and major groups. I had raised this issue in parliament in 2011, highlighting how nine groups had captured 97% of the Indian banking system, the Minister added.

Addressing the issue of ‘brain drain,’ Minister Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar observed that Indians living abroad are increasingly recognizing the immense opportunities in India and are planning to return. He stressed the importance of skills in addition to degrees, advising young Indians to understand that skills are crucial for seizing opportunities in the startup ecosystem and the job market.

“Young Indians must understand that a degree is important, but what’s even more crucial is acquiring skills. If you graduate from college without skills, you may face a slight disadvantage in terms of startup opportunities and the job market. The government offers various skilling and entrepreneurship programs that young Indians can tap into. We have aligned this vision with the National Education Policy, ensuring that even school dropouts can acquire essential skills. I’ve had discussions with many entrepreneurs and employees working abroad, and today, they are eager to return to India because they see its immense potential,” the Minister further added.